Flea bargain: Why there’s more to the Fifita story
When Broncos young gun David Fifita said he had learned his lesson from his Bali arrest, he wasn't kidding.
The flea bites all over his hulking frame after sleeping on a dirty, tiled jail cell floor are stark reminders of the calamity in Kuta.
And don't think he'll shrug off the frightening memories of being whisked away by police with no interpreters to help him navigate the early stages of the drama like he shrugs off would-be tacklers in the NRL.
We are still talking about a 19-year-old kid here.
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A kid who arrived back in Brisbane confronted by a media scrum - and perhaps far more dauntingly - his Mum.
But should we feel sorry for him?
For being in the wrong place, at the wrong time? No. He's got to own that blue.
For being a bit silly and disrespectful to locals? No, definitely not.
Given what happened to the Melbourne Storm players at the same Kuta nightclub a few weeks ago, he and Payne Haas should have been holidaying in Burleigh, not Bali.
But - to borrow a line from ESPN's "30 for 30" docos - what if I told you … he may not have actually punched the bouncer (who did not appear to be sporting any bruises or cuts from the alleged blow from Fifita … funny that).
That he just gave the bloke a bit of a fright as he flew by on the back of a scooter and he got caught up by the different playing field in Bali where international visitors can find themselves in deep trouble with coppers, bouncers and the like making mountains out of mole hills.
There's a good reason why Broncos CEO Paul White means what he says when he welcomes the outcome of the NRL Integrity Unit's investigation.
When all is said and done, Fifita's version of the events that took place may be quite different to the story that has been doing the rounds.
As it stands, Fifita was not charged with an offence. There are suggestions he may be lighter in the wallet but he was not charged.
He may still cop a whack from the NRL for giving the game another PR black eye. But NRL HQ need to tread carefully here because Fifita may not be guilty of much at all - apart from being a teenager doing something stupid after a few beers.
We've all been guilty of that, so feel free to cast the first stone.
Plenty of players have done far worse off the field. Let's not hang the kid - or the club for that matter for rushing an official to Bali to make the most of the small window of opportunity to get Fifita out of the country.
Brisbane's sponsors were kept up to date as the saga unfolded and there was no pushback. There was actually more feedback on the story about Darius Boyd embracing a vegan diet. No bull.
And while bad player behaviour occupies plenty of justified media attention, here's a story that you don't hear all the time.
The Thursday night before Fifita and Haas headed to Bali, they posed for photos at the Indooroopilly shopping centre and spoke to boarders from the near-by St Peters College.
"The players could not have been more obliging, thoughtful and considered in their conversation with each boarder,'' an email received by the Broncos said.
"I couldn't have been more proud of these players that night and I know how much the sharing of their personal time was later spread throughout the boarding house.
"At the very least, please let the players know how much their efforts can mean so much to fans.''
See, there's two sides to every story.