From a public 4am brawl to a starlet catching his own trainer and a captain trapped in a pub toilet cubicle: here are the NRL thugs who need to repay their clubs’ faith this season
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Footballers aren’t robots, but reckless behavior off the field often leaves supporters – and the NRL clubs that pay their high salaries – scratching their heads in dismay.
Whether it’s Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton deciding to fight in Canberra outside a nightclub at 3.45am, Broncos young gun Selywn Cobbo criticizing coach Kevin Walters on a podcast or the ‘Manly seven’ boycotting a game last year due to beliefs religious and cultural when asked to wear a pride shirt, the NRL is never boring.
Daily Mail Australia has singled out several key players who need to avoid drama and repay their clubs’ faith in 2023.
The Knights co-captain was involved in a now-infamous scandal with teammate Kurt Mann last August at the Delany Hotel in Newcastle.
A recent suggestion by Ponga that Mann was simply “helping” the five-eighths star into a bathroom cubicle while he was suffering from food poisoning raised a lot of eyebrows.
As co-captain of the Knights and their standout signing, Kalyn Ponga needs to keep a clean nose in 2023
Given the size of Ponga’s contract, he would be advised to win more football games and not drink alcohol during a concussion.
The 20-year-old Broncos winger is an obvious talent, but his mouth gets him into a lot of trouble. Suggesting on a podcast that Kevin Walters is ‘a good guy, but not the best coach’ is a surefire way to get key people offside at Red Hill. Also recently labeling Jarome Luai, the Panthers’ star center, ‘grub’ wasn’t wise either.
At just 20 years old, Broncos forward Selwyn Cobbo is an obvious talent, but his mouth seems to get him in a lot of trouble.
Cobbo suggesting Kevin Walters is ‘a good guy but not the best coach’ is a surefire way to get key people offside at Red Hill
The ‘Manly Seven’
Josh Aloiai, Toafofoa Sipley, Tolutau Koula, Christian Tuipulotu, Haumole Olakau’atu, Jason Saab and Josh Schuster cited ‘cultural and religious’ reasons for not wearing a ‘pride’ shirt in their Round 20 clash against the Roosters on July 28 last year. They also boycotted the match and Manly’s top eight aspirations soon plummeted, with Des Hasler later being sent off. Although the club handled the situation poorly, Sea Eagles fans will not accept any more drama.
Jack Wighton and Latrell Mitchell
Footage of the stars – who are good friends – being pulled over by ACT police last month after a ‘fight’ at 3:45am was not a good look for code. With the matter still in court, the duo must remain discreet in the coming months.
Jack Wighton and Latrell Mitchell’s recent ‘public fight’ outside a Canberra nightclub was not a good look for code
The Raiders’ whore has spent a lot of time in courtrooms this off-season. Although he was acquitted of some charges against NSW Police, a self-imposed alcohol ban would be sensible.
Tom Starling emerges as a key figure for the Raiders this year as they chase another top-eight and finals finish.
In recent years, Starling has been a magnet for drama, including run-ins with the NSW Police.
He’s a fan favorite on the Roosters, but his repeated suspensions are wearing thin with the likes of Trent Robinson and Nick Politis. Having just signed a four-year extension with the tricolores, the blockade needs to emerge as a leader on the pitch, not a liability.
Broncos enforcer Payne Haas must avoid fights with teammates outside a hotel where the public can film the incident
The Broncos enforcer must avoid fights with teammates outside a hotel where the public can film the incident. While no one likes his new dirty white shoes, given Haas and his family’s colorful past, staying out of the headlines would be good news for club officials.