The Brisbane Broncos’ attempts to part ways with controversial star Tevita Pangai Jr could become even more messy in the coming days, after the 24-year-old sought a meeting with the NRL Integrity Unit.
Pangai Jr was already on the outer at the embattled club after being stood down for breaching the NRL’s coronavirus biosecurity protocols, with the club reportedly moving to sack him, despite signing him to a three-year contract in 2019.
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According to Channel Nine and Sydney Morning Herald reporter Danny Weidler, Pangai Jr requested the meeting with the Integrity Unit to discuss third-party payments that had been agreed to by the Broncos which reportedly hadn’t been honoured.
Weidler said Pangai Jr was ‘infuriated’ by the missing payments, and that he was ‘being pressured from some in the game to keep quiet and move on’.
“Pangai went to the Integrity Unit yesterday and opened up completely about his situation at the Broncos,” Weidler told radio program Big Sports Breakfast.
“This would have a lot of people in the game very concerned if these third-party deals were not disclosed to the NRL and were unregistered.
“If that’s the case this has massive ramifications for the Broncos and the game.
“From what I’m told, he has been completely honest and open and the meeting with the Integrity Unit is said to have gone for several hours.”
Massive NRL concerns over Tevita Pangai Jr payments
Speculation has mounted that third-party payments to Pangai Jr had not been submitted to, or approved by, the NRL - in contravention of league rules.
Weidler said he was uncertain exactly why the Broncos prop was coming forward to the NRL.
“I don’t know exactly why Pangai is coming forward,” he said.
“If he’s taking a broader view that this happens to players throughout the game and enough is enough, well, good on him for doing that because someone has to stand up for the players and call this sort of thing out.”
Fellow rugby league reporter and former player James Hooper said the story was a ‘hand grenade’.
“This is an explosive story. I think this story is a hand grenade that is guaranteed to go off,” Hooper said.
“There are people involved who their roles remaining in the game going forward will be called into question, and they will have to provide answers.
LATEST : Tevita Pangai Jnr has given NRL Integrity Unit a lengthy and detailed run down of broken third party promises made to him. NRL investigation about to get serious. Potentially huge ramifications if allegations proved.@9NewsSyd @NRLonNine— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) August 24, 2020
“Essentially you can’t have a third-party agreement that isn’t registered with the NRL, and this... that we believe was done, was done between a couple of people and nobody else knew about it.”
“The Warriors offered him $800,000 last year... he stayed at Brisbane for $650,000 a season.”
Hooper’s Fox League colleague Paul Kent said the scandal could potentially lead to people losing their jobs at Brisbane.
“It will cost people their careers. The NRL didn’t even know about it. It’s catastrophic.” Kent said.
“It’s someone looking after Pangai’s interests because the Broncos have given him a breach notice and are trying to sack him from his contract.
“Meanwhile he has unpaid third-party (deals) promised to him by the Broncos.”