Tevita Pangai Jr could pay a huge price for breaking the NRL’s strict biosecurity protocols, with Brisbane set to tear up his $650,000-per-season contract.
The troublesome 24-year-old has two-and-a-half years left on his deal, but his latest indiscretion appears to be the final straw for the Broncos’ board.
Pangai Jr’s ill discipline has been a thorn for the club for more than a year, during which time he has spent 12 weeks out because of suspensions.
Earlier this season he copped his fourth suspension of the past year and spent a month on the sidelines for a dangerous tackle.
— NRL (@NRL) August 11, 2020
He is also believed to have shopped himself to rivals Sydney Roosters last week looking for a way out of the club, which has further angered the Broncos’ board.
The club released a statement on Sunday saying he had been stood down for 14 days for breaching Project Apollo protools.
“The Broncos are investigating the circumstances around the matter to determine what further action may be taken,” the statement read.
Friday’s 28-10 loss to South Sydney looks set to be his final NRL game of the season given the August 3 deadline for clubs to finalise their rosters has passed.
It’s a huge call for the Broncos considering they are in the midst of their worst NRL season and recently lost a bid to keep star forward David Fifita at the club beyond the end of the year.
On Tuesday afternoon the Broncos denied they had finalised the investigation into Pangai’s breach.
However, a breach of contract notice is expected to be imminent, in which he will have five days to respond.
It’s understood he is also facing a $40,000 breach notice from the NRL for his blatant violation of the biosecurity guidelines.
The Tongan international attended the opening on Saturday of a barber shop in Brisbane, which was raided by Queensland Police and has ties to the Mongols motorcycle group.
It was the day after their loss to Souths, and under current restrictions, players returning to Queensland from NSW need to isolate for 14 days, attending only training or games.
However, after five years at the club it appears Pangai Jr’s time is up.
— Brisbane Broncos (@brisbanebroncos) August 8, 2020
He will be the fourth person from the club to be fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions after three members of the coaching staff – Allan Langer, Ryan Whitley and Blake Duncan – attended a private function.
They were each fined $5000 by the NRL.
Coach Anthony Seibold is also on hold after remaining in Sydney to attend to a serious family matter following Friday night’s loss.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has warned NRL players and staff who breach the biosecurity bubble are risking their income for generations to come.
Elsewhere, Newcastle players Starford To’a and Simi Sasagi have been cleared to return to the club’s NRL bubble after being in a COVID-hold since Sunday.