NRL 2019: Late-night gambling Broncos find support after playoff embarrassment

Brisbane Broncos reel from their record NRL playoff loss
Brisbane Broncos reel from their record NRL playoff loss. Photo credit: AAP

Support is growing for the Brisbane players seen playing pokies the night before the NRL club's embarrassing finals exit, with Wests Tigers' Josh Reynolds claiming they did nothing wrong.

And Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has also weighed in, saying hitting the gaming 
lounge may be how the players relaxed before an away match.

Brisbane's Matt Gillett, Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Andrew McCullough, David Fifita and Payne Haas were initially slammed, when it emerged they had been seen in a Sydney pub's gaming lounge until after 11pm the night before their 58-0 elimination final loss to Parramatta.

Broncos coach Anthony Seibold did not know the players had left the team hotel to visit the pub until he was told by media on Tuesday, prompting a club statement that said they "should have been more professional in their actions".

Some members of the 'Slot Machine Six' may pay a high price, with the club also saying their behaviour would be taken into consideration when they held their end-of-season review, which would determine their future roster after the Eels rout.

But Reynolds wondered what all the fuss was about.

"To be brutally honest with you, I don't think they have done anything wrong," he told Macquarie Sports Radio. "I'm sometimes up until 1am before a game and that's because I can't sleep.

"With the Broncos, it sometimes gets boring in a hotel room.

"Don't get me wrong, it was pretty late and they should probably be getting ready for bed, but that is just my opinion.

"For me, I'm not going to say to my mate after we lose 'why are you playing the 
pokies?'

"They're not drinking or carrying on."

Bellamy admitted it may not be a good look after Brisbane's record loss, but said 
players may have hit the pokies to help ease their pre-finals nerves.

"I don't know whether playing poker machines is a good preparation for a game, but you like your players to be relaxed and that might be how some players relax before a game," he said.

"They might have been doing that all year, at every away game. They weren't drinking, they weren't tearing the place up.

"But because of what happened on the field, the question's going to be asked."

AAP

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