‘Entitled’: How selfish Broncos are bringing the club down
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold pleaded with Tevita Pangai Jr a month ago to "be smarter''. Shame he didn't add "off the field".
Pangai Jr's brazen, arrogant defiance of COVID protocols by turning up to a bikie's barber shop on Saturday confirmed to the Broncos two unfortunate facts of life.
The first is that Pangai Jr is a shamelessly selfish player.
The second is that the club got its priorities wrong when they re-signed Pangai Jr and ran out of cash to keep David Fifita.
How they would love to have that one all over again.
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Pangai Jr's career at the Broncos will never be long enough for him to repay the club for the 12 weeks he has missed through suspensions since the start of last year, often through reckless, self-indulgent big hits gone wrong.
You'd reckon someone with that sort of poor disciplinary record would be doubly - make that trebly - vigilant not to get into any unnecessary trouble off the field because he has already let them down so badly.
Not so. The Broncos may be $5 pops to win the wooden spoon yet it's doubtful any club at that quote ever had more players with a million-dollar swagger or sense of entitlement.
Broncos players were warned on the team bus after the game against Souths in Sydney on Friday they would fly back to Brisbane into an enforced lockdown where they could basically train, go home and do little else.
Later on Saturday morning they were also mentioned in dispatches at the Broncos recovery session.
The COVID era has contained patches of confusion with changing rules but not this time. The instructions were brutally strict and simple.
Pangai Jr would have gone to the bikie's barber shop fully aware how it would look if he was caught.
With Seibold staying in Sydney due to a family crisis and out of play for a fortnight and Allan Langer and two assistant coaches also in a COVID hold, the club was in crisis.
Pangai had the choice to either mentally muscle up and go home and suffer in isolation after the loss or roll the dice and go to the barber - even though he didn't even need a haircut.
As it so often does, self-interest beat self-sacrifice in straight sets.
No, it's not the crime of the century but it shows why the Broncos are so soft and undisciplined on and off the field.
Pangai Jr may be able to slip a ball away like few players in the game but good luck trying to build a club on someone with such flaky disciplinary standards.
The Broncos have reached the lowest point in their illustrious history.
There is very much the sense of the broken home syndrome about their current woes.
Because self-interest is so rampant - as it always is when the life rafts are floating around a sinking ship - the club has become much like a broken home where there is no one around to wave the big stick at the misbehaving kids when its needed.
In grander days players used to fear falling off-side with Wayne Bennett when he was at the club but Seibold does not have that gravitas.
That said, you might have thought the coach's current private struggles would be enough to convince his players to try and make his life as uncomplicated as it could be.
Even if winning a match is beyond them, they could at least have stayed away from the barbers, especially when they didn't even need a haircut.