Why Pangai made controversial call to Roosters boss
TEVITA Pangai Jr will fight for his Broncos future by claiming his frustration at the loss of teammate David Fifita triggered a phone call to Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis, which has made him an outcast at Red Hill.
As revealed by The Courier-Mail, Pangai Jr has hired a legal team to defend his right to stay at Brisbane as the club prepares to serve him with a breach notice for a series of alleged contractual breaches.
Pangai Jr was fined $30,000 by the NRL and stood down from playing duties indefinitely for breaking strict COVID protocols to attend the opening of a bikie's barber shop last weekend.
But Broncos bosses are also furious at Pangai Jr for contacting Politis amid allegations he called the Roosters chairman asking if he could join the premiers, a scenario that could constitute a breach of his Brisbane contract.
It is understood Broncos hierarchy grilled Pangai Jr during the week about his exchange with Politis.
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The Tongan international denied he wanted out. He claimed he was getting advice from one of the game's most experienced voices about how to make the Broncos successful again after being left bewildered at how Brisbane management could lose back-row superstar Fifita to the Titans.
Intriguingly, Politis is also a Broncos shareholder who was involved in Brisbane's annual general meeting last month.
Pangai is taking his NRL stand-down seriously. He has only left his house once since last Monday - for a COVID Test as ordered by the NRL.
He has had food supplies left on his front door by relatives.
Broncos great Darren Lockyer, part of the board which has discussed tearing up Pangai Jr's $675,000 contract immediately, respected the forward's decision to try to salvage his Broncos future.
"If he wants to fight to keep his contract here, that's a good sign, but if he doesn't put up much of a fight, it will mean he doesn't want to be a part of the group,'' Lockyer said.
"Tevita has plenty to offer as a player. He has made some selfish choices on the field at times and he has made some selfish decisions off the field, but we can't put all the blame on Tevita. We all have to accept some ownership for the situation.''
Pangai Jr's reputation has been damaged by the indefinite stand-down and former Broncos and Test prop Glenn Lazarus can understand if clubs are wary of signing him.
"It doesn't surprise me that the Roosters and the Storm aren't interested in signing a player like Tevita because they have worked very hard to get a winning culture,'' Lazarus told 2GB radio.
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"They brought the right types of players into their clubs and they don't want to see it disrupted by someone like Tevita who clearly puts himself above everyone else.
"He has been very selfish. I don't know Tevita all that well. I have met him before but I don't know him all that well.
"For him to do what he did, it was very selfish. He obviously didn't think of his teammates or the club or the millions of fans who sit there waiting anxiously for the footy to roll around each week.
"If this guy picked up coronavirus from the barber shop and took it to the club and players started testing positive, the whole NRL would get shut down. He didn't think about it, he decided to do what he wanted to do and that was very selfish.''
Originally published as Revealed: Why Pangai made controversial call to Roosters boss