Roosters lodge complaint with NRL over gaffe during Spencer Leniu judiciary hearing

The NRL has received a formal complaint about the judiciary's failure to identify Spencer Leniu by his correct name and nationality.

The Roosters have formally lodged a complaint to the NRL about its judiciary counsel's failure to identify Spencer Leniu by his correct name and nationality. Days after Leniu was handed an eight-week ban for telling Ezra Mam to "f*** up you monkey" in one of the highest-profile NRL hearings in years, the Tri Colours have expressed their disappointment with Lachlan Gyles SC.

In the hearing's opening address, Gyles referred to the forward as "Spencer Luai" and also incorrectly stated that he played for Tonga rather than Samoa. Gyles' gaffes were promptly corrected by NRL judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew SC.

Pictured Spencer Leniu left and right with Roosters coach Trent Robinson
The NRL has received a formal complaint about the judiciary's failure to identify Spencer Leniu by his correct name and nationality. Image: AAP

According to The Sydney Morning Herald "sources familiar with the matter" held concerns about Gyles' mistakes, especially given the sensitivity of the hearing and so in turn made a complaint to the NRL. Gyles' errors were immediately picked up by attendees at the hearing and the Roosters reportedly felt compelled to raise the matter with the NRL. Gyles has privately apologised for his blunders.

It comes at the end of a difficult week for the club after Leniu was suspended for eight matches for calling Mam a "monkey". During Monday's hearing, Leniu argued that at the time he didn't realise the term was offensive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He has since said sorry to Mam and his family upon further learning about the historical significance of the slur.


The Sydney Roosters also announced this week that the entire club will go through cultural training. The decision was made following Leniu's judiciary revelation that players of colour in the NRL regularly call each other names including "blacky", "monkey" and "black c***".

Trent Robinson insists Spencer Leniu is "not racist"

Trent Robinson says he is certain suspended prop Spencer Leniu is "not racist" but says the incident underlined the fact that such language was often common not just in the NRL, but in society as a whole. Up until Wednesday, the Roosters had kept quiet about the Leniu incident, with Robinson fronting the media to attempt to draw a line in the sand after the prop was handed his suspension.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 01: Sydney Roosters head coach Trent Robinson talks to the media before the NRL Captain's Run at Allegiant Stadium, on March 01, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Trent Robinson is adamant suspended prop Spencer Leniu is "not racist". (Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

The Roosters coach said Leniu will have to live with his sledge "for the rest of his life". "He is not racist," Robinson said. "His use of language was on trial. This is a language issue, this is common between people of all ages in sport or in the playground … It's not because they're racist or they're trying to put power there.

"It's banter between guys and I'm not saying it's right. But we need to change the language with which we speak to each other. To call Spencer a racist is so far from the truth. It is so far from the truth but is that language right? You can never use that but is it happening on a daily basis? Yes, it is."

Robinson added: "If we understand the definition of racism (as) when you try to use your power to put someone down a class and degrade that person. If you think that an immigrant from parents from Samoa and New Zealand and then Mt Druitt is trying to put someone down through power, then we're way off the mark."

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' simple solution to war of words

Details have come to light about enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' proposed solution to a war of words between Broncos and Roosters players back at the hotel following the heated season-opener. Waerea-Hargreaves is known for being no-nonsense on the field but apparently, he is also that way off of it.

A select group of Broncos and Roosters players came to blows following the match at the Resorts World Hotel where both teams were staying on the same floor. According to Fox Sports Australia when Warea-Hargreaves joined the commotion the players were hurling insults at one another.

The enforcer then told the players to take the dispute outside to the car park to sort out their differences. However, no one ended up in there as by this time Roosters officials were on the scene to de-escalate tensions.

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