Kevin Walters has denied suggestions of a problematic drinking culture at the Brisbane Broncos after the high-profile scuffle involving star pair Adam Reynolds and Patrick Carrigan. The two players and Walters all fronted the media on Tuesday for a grilling over Sunday night's altercation that landed Reynolds and Carrigan in hot water after being captured on amateur footage.
The Broncos stars expressed their remorse and embarrassment over the incident, with Walters confirming they would not be suspended by the club. The NRL's integrity unit is also investigating the scuffle but it's likely both players will escape with fines rather than any sort of ban that would prevent them playing in next month's NRL season opener in Las Vegas.
The scuffle took place on Sunday night after Broncos players hit the town following a fan day with the club's supporters in Brisbane. Carrigan refused to confirm whether he was intoxicated when quizzed by reporters on Tuesday but confirmed that Reynolds was trying to get him home in a taxi before the altercation broke out.
Walters says the players let themselves down more than anyone else but believes the incident is largely a one-off. He said both players had been exemplary role models over the last couple of seasons and spoke about the countless hours that Carrigan dedicates to community service. The Brisbane coach, however, refused to accept there was an inherent drinking problem at his club when grilled by reporters.
Kevin Walters denies there is a drinking culture at Broncos
“Alcohol is a problem in society, not just in rugby league and we are part of society,” Walters said. “At the end of the day, what happened on Sunday night... no-one condones it, but it’s happened and we have to move on.
“I don’t feel like they have let me down. They have let themselves down. Patty is a terrific person, he does so much work in the community and what happened on Sunday night no-one condones... As a club we have got in and supported our players, but also be respectful of the situation and deal with it appropriately.
So now that the superbowl is over… NRL regular programming is back.. trouble in red hill with Carrigan and Reynolds 👀👀 pic.twitter.com/BnmbLMOcRA
— NicccccD (@niccccccccd) February 12, 2024
“It’s not a relaxed attitude we have. I have walked in their shoes before and sometimes it’s not easy. Rugby league is a very competitive sport, lots of testosterone and men like to have fun. It got out of hand but it’s not the end of the world, really. It’s not a great example and we’re not proud of it, we all make mistakes.
“I’m not sure how much alcohol was consumed. It’s not ideal. We appreciate that but we are moving on. The NRL is dealing with it and we will cop whatever they come up with. There’s not much more we can do.”
The incident couldn't come at a much worse time for the Broncos, who are set to fly to the United States in 10 days to prepare for the March 3 (AEDT) clash against the Roosters at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The match is the second of the NRL's American double-header, with Manly taking on South Sydney in the opening match of the 2024 season.
Walters is confident there will be no behavioural issues for his players in Las Vegas and was at pains to point out that no one was hurt and no members of the public were involved in Sunday night's incident. "We had a blip on Sunday evening. It was in-house too, no one from outside was involved," Walters added. "All they've done is really hurt themselves and the brand, more than anyone from the public."
Pat Carrigan and Adam Reynolds address incident
Carrigan sidestepped questions from reporters on Tuesday about how much alcohol he consumed before the altercation but said he took "full responsibility" for his actions. "It's obviously not ideal behaviour that I am proud of," Carrigan said. "I stand side by side with Adam... (he) had my best interests at heart. It was probably time for me to go home. We were mucking around and joking in a public place when we shouldn't have been."
Reynolds also accepted blame and said he was "disappointed" and "embarrassed" by the saga. "I'm pretty disappointed in it. As a club, we've come a long way with our culture," the Brisbane halfback said. "We're embarrassed ... we're a really tight group. We understand it's not a good look. We were there as mates. It started out as a playful fight, a little bit of wrestle. It got a little bit heated, but there's no one injured."
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