Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam in awkward flight development amid NRL storm in Las Vegas

The Roosters and Broncos players came face-to-face again after an incident at the teams' hotel.

Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam came face-to-face at the airport in Las Vegas on Monday after the Roosters and Broncos were booked on the same flight to San Francisco. Leniu has been referred directly to the NRL judiciary after Mam was allegedly called a 'monkey' by the Roosters forward during their clash in Vegas on Sunday.

Mam made an official complaint to referee Adam Gee during the Roosters' 20-10 win, and the NRL has since charged Leniu and sent him straight to the judiciary. The Roosters recruit joined the club from Penrith in the off-season and was one of four players chosen to go to Vegas early to promote the sport to America.

Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam, pictured here at the airport in Las Vegas.
Spencer Leniu and Ezra Mam came face-to-face at the airport in Las Vegas. Image: Channel 7

He is now facing a big suspension if the racial slur is proven at the judiciary. There were awkward scenes on Monday when the Roosters and Broncos caught the same flight from Vegas to San Francisco before their connecting flights to Sydney and Brisbane.

Leniu and Mam came face-to-face in the terminal, with neither player making eye contact or interacting with the other. According to reports, officials did their best to keep the players apart, with the Roosters and Broncos put at separate ends of the plane as they travelled to San Francisco.

The development came after Leniu reportedly confronted Mam in their hotel in the hours immediately after the on-field incident. Patrick Carrigan and Kotoni Staggs exchanged words with Leniu at the Hilton at Resorts World (where both teams were staying), before the Roosters player was taken away by a team official.


Leniu was reportedly fuming that Mam didn't leave the incident on the field. Speaking straight after full-time, the front-rower described it as "fun and games" on the field and even declared the Roosters "know where to find him" if they wanted to take the matter further.

Spencer Leniu, pictured here at the airport in Las Vegas.
Spencer Leniu at the airport in Las Vegas on Monday. Image: Channel 7

Ivan Cleary speaks out amid Spencer Leniu controversy

Under NRL rules, the judiciary isn't scheduled to meet until Tuesday of next week - after the remainder of the first round of games have been completed this weekend. However the Roosters can make an application to judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew to have the hearing moved forward to this week.

"It was really disappointing to be talking about something of this nature," NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said on Sunday. "There is no place for discrimination of any kind. We take it very, very seriously.

"I can't talk about the specifics of what happened last night. The player involved involved has been charged and then referred directly to the judiciary. We will respect that process and won't make comments."

Speaking on Monday, Leniu's former coach at Penrith Ivan Cleary admitted his surprise that the prop was accused of racial abuse. "I am surprised (that he was accused of something like that) ... it's out of character from what I can see," Cleary said.

"I would say it's out of character. It's going through the channels with the NRL now, so everything is being investigated. We'll see where it leads, but I would say it's out of character."

with AAP

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