Broncos boss blasts claims Pangai deal was botched


Broncos chairman Karl Morris has hit back at suggestions Brisbane bungled the sacking of wayward star Tevita Pangai Jr.

Pangai effectively received a second chance to save his career at the Broncos on Monday when Brisbane's board decided to terminate his contract, but with a 12-month delay.

The decision means Pangai can remain at Red Hill provided he is a cleanskin and complies with a series of terms.

The Broncos originally moved to sack Pangai immediately last month, issuing him with a show cause notice after he was caught breaking the NRL's biosecurity protocols by attending the opening of a Brisbane barbershop with links to a bikie gang.

But Pangai stood his ground, enlisting a lawyer and public relations expert to fight against his $2.1 million contract being torn up.


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Brisbane Broncos chairman Karl Morris with CEO Paul White. Picture: AAP Image/Albert Perez
Brisbane Broncos chairman Karl Morris with CEO Paul White. Picture: AAP Image/Albert Perez


The Broncos then issued Pangai with a second and more detailed show cause notice ordering him to front the club's board last Friday.

The Tongan Test star was ultimately successful at the hearing, earning another 12 months to prove why he should remain at the Broncos.

After being criticised for the unsuccessful appointment and last week's departure of coach Anthony Seibold, Morris defended the club's handling of the Pangai situation.

"I am comfortable, it was a complicated matter and more information was coming out over a period of time," he said.



"To show how serious we were about it, once more information came out we sent out a second one (notice). What we wanted to do was make sure Tevita knew how seriously we were taking it.

"When we received more information and were able to get advice from our legal team and the NRL we were able to give him a second notice. That's not unusual when more information becomes available.


Tevita Panji Jr breached several COVID hub rules.
Tevita Panji Jr breached several COVID hub rules.


"We think it's very serious to not only put the Broncos but also the NRL at risk.

"But he showed remorse and accepted the terms of the conditions which proved how much he wants to play for the Broncos and wants to be a better person."

In its investigation, the NRL discovered Pangai had breached the code's "bubble" protocols on numerous occasions, including dining with rugby union star Quade Cooper.

Instead of placing Pangai on probation, the Broncos opted to terminate his "employment immediately but any implementation of that decision has been suspended for a period of 12 months".

Pangai, 24, must complete a mentoring program and work in a job organised by that mentor for the remainder of the 2020 NRL season.

He has been forced to close down his social media accounts after being linked with bikies and must report for pre-season training in "good physical condition".

Morris said the Broncos opted to "terminate" Pangai's contract, rather than place him on probation, to send a strong message.

"It's different wording, it has the same impact," he said.

"It was a negotiation between us and Tevita and his legal team. He realised that it had to be as big a deterrent for him to get the second chance.

"It was structured that way, to show how remorseful he was and how serious he is about doing the right thing going forward."

Pangai will not play again in 2020, limiting him to only nine appearances this year after he copped a four-game suspension for dangerous contact in the opening round of the season.

Originally published as Broncos boss blasts claims Pangai deal was botched