Vegas scars stay in Vegas for Broncos, Roosters

Scott Bailey and Joel Gould |

The Roosters and Broncos say they have moved on from the Las Vegas controversies.
The Roosters and Broncos say they have moved on from the Las Vegas controversies.

What happens in a Vegas hotel corridor stays in a Vegas hotel corridor.

Two months on from rugby league’s ugliest hour of 2024, both Brisbane and the Sydney Roosters are adamant there is no emotional hangover from Las Vegas.

No suggestion of a grudge match, no need for a message to control emotions and no risk of it overflowing on to Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Instead, both sides and both coaches insist they have moved on.

Spencer Leniu is serving the last match of his eight-game ban for a racial slur at Ezra Mam, who himself will return from a finger injury on Friday.

What happened on the field at Allegiant Stadium threatened to overshadow rugby league’s biggest ever venture into the United States.

What happened off it, when Leniu clashed verbally with Broncos players back at the Resorts World hotel, threatened to kick off more drama.

But some two months on, time  has seemingly healed some wounds.

Mam has stated he is ready to meet with Leniu to accept an apology, while players have stressed the early-morning emotions in the corridor are a thing of the past.

And as far as Broncos coach Kevin Walters is concerned, it’s certainly not a grudge match.

Kevin Walters, Adam Reynolds and Ezra Mam.
Sharing a joke at Broncos training are (from left) coach Kevin Walters, Adam Reynolds and Ezra Mam. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

“No, it is no grudge match,” he said. 

“These two clubs have been going at it for 30-odd years and have always had strong teams and some of the greatest players in the game. 

“Tomorrow night is no different.”

Trent Robinson agrees, adamant there is no need for him to speak to his Roosters players and tell them to keep their emotions in check.

“Not from our point of view,” he said. 

“The club (are fine), but also Spencer has done his penance on that. 

“Obviously he’s not playing tomorrow night and there won’t be any of that emotion from us. We’re going to play footy.”

Walters, for what it’s worth, also sees a difference on the field.

After his Broncos were beaten 20-10 on the narrower Allegiant Stadium field, he believes his side will benefit from returning to “normal size”.

Likewise, they are at home, where they are yet to be beaten this year.

“We have (more room) and it is our home ground as well. That’s very exciting for us,” Walters said.