If you’ve ever dreamt of playing NRL for the Brisbane Broncos this might be your chance, because 10 more players breached COVID-19 protocols and the club might not have any eligible first-grade players for the rest of the season.
Kotoni Staggs, Jake Turpin, David Fifita, Cory Paix, Keenan Palasia, Sean O’Sullivan and Corey Oates joined three development players at the Everton Park Hotel in Brisbane and earned nominations for The Frownlow Medal, as well as $140,000 in fines for the club. The players will each be fined 5% of their salary.
The Frownlow Medal is awarded to the player whose off-field demeanour epitomises the values of the modern-day footballer and draws attention to the status of footballers as role models to young Australians. It covers Australia’s four major football codes; the National Rugby League (NRL), Australian Football League (AFL), the A-League (Football) and Rugby Union’s Super Rugby competition. NRL player Shaun Kenny-Dowall won the inaugural medal in 2015, while NRL player Ben Barba is the most recent recipient.
The breach brings to 27 the number of professional footballers who have earned Frownlow nominations for coronavirus breaches in 2020, and continues the horror year for the Broncos.
The proud club started the season with serious injuries to many key players and is one place away from the wooden spoon. They are in a public spat with one of their young stars, Tevita Pangai Jr. who also broke bio-security protocols to attend the opening of a barber shop. Even club legend Alan Langer, who spends 80 minutes on the field every game anyway, can’t make a comeback because he breached bio-security regulations to have a drink at a pub and was nominated for The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.
Oates and Fifita, meanwhile, earn their second Frownlow nominations. Oates was nominated in 2017 for a bromantic tiff with Broncos legend Justin Hodges, while Fifita got himself locked up after a pub fight in Bali last year. The Broncos bailed Fifita out, but he still decided to sign a contract with the Gold Coast Titans for next season.
Some NSW residents and NRL fans must love what they’re seeing at the Broncos this year.