A fight, or was it just a wrestling match, between Broncos’ stars Kevin Walters, Chris Johns and Peter Ryan at Brisbane’s Paddington Tavern on a Monday night brought a mixed reaction from Broncos’ performance director, Kelvin Giles.
On the one hand he thought it was a bad look in public, but on the other hand it showed that team spirit was still high leading into a crucial match against the Auckland Warriors.
Giles explained it this way.
“Dark humour is a characteristic of a Broncos’ gathering and you have to be thick skinned to put up with some of it,” said Giles, a former British Athletics Team coach.
“I was disappointed to find out this happened on a Monday night when the players should be well down the road to the Auckland match. It’s another day with alcohol in the system.
“If they stopped the wrestling and the baiting and acted coldly towards each other I would know something was wrong. This tells you how close they are to each other and I’m expecting training to be great this week. This might sound like it is coming out of left field, but if they had not bashed each other up it would have proved they are not so close.
“It’s part of the culture of football. I don’t like it, but it’s the nature of the beast. It’s not the first time it’s happened.”
Police were called to ‘The Paddo’ but Walters, Ryan and Johns had left. CCTV wasn’t part of the set-up in those days, and there was no social media, as we know it now.
The matter rested there.
It was a nothing incident compared with some of the ‘bonding sessions’ of previous eras.
In Sydney, former Brisbane Brothers’ centre, Mark Coyne signed a new three year deal with St George, but only after the club assured him they would stay loyal to the ARL, and not join the proposed Super League competition.
Coyne was an ARL loyal player, and would have signed with another club if St George were defecting, as was widely rumoured that year.
St George also had considered a merger with ARL loyal Sydney Roosters, causing angst among the ranks of Saints’ supporters, who formed a ‘Save Our Saints’ group.
Meanwhile, North Queensland Cowboys suffered a setback when All Blacks rugby union centre, Walter Little reneged on a verbal agreement to play for the Townsville club. Little agreed to terms with a Cowboys’ official in Auckland, but resigned with the NZ Rugby Union 48 hours later.