Off the Wall

The Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Club has significantly lifted the cross bar when it comes to dealing with off-field misbehaviour by players - and should seriously embarrass a number of NRL and AFL clubs in the process.

Yesterday the Broncos management tore up the contracts of two young, and very promising, players, Ian Lacey and John Te Rio, after the former appeared in court on a serious assault charge with the latter facing the same when he returns from New Zealand.

The way the Broncos have handled the issue stands in sharp contrast to the approach of a number of NRL clubs, notably the Sydney Bulldogs, and AFL clubs, notably the West Coast Eagles. And it is an approach that puts pressure on the National Rugby League to back its tough stance.

The Broncos have not waited until the court processes are concluded - that could take a year or more. The club has conducted its own investigations, and relied on its own Code of Conduct - which it requires all players to sign up to - to sack the players.

The Broncos CEO, Bruno Cullen, who sacked two first grade players last year for off-field misbehaviour, made it clear yesterday the fact that the players were out drinking at 4.30am in the morning - after attending the club