Brisbane coach Kevin Walters has spoken of his pride in Ezra Mam and his players for their response to an alleged racial slur by Sydney Roosters prop Spencer Leniu.

The Broncos arrived back in Brisbane on Tuesday after their 20-10 opening round loss in Las Vegas.

Leniu was on Monday hit with a contrary conduct charge, with the NRL referring him straight to the judiciary.

Mam told referee Gee “he called me a monkey” and a Broncos player could be heard confirming it.

The Roosters recruit denied the allegation when placed on report on field by referee Adam Gee, and could be heard to respond “why would I say that?”

After the match players exchanged words as they passed each other at the Hilton at Resorts World.

Witnesses said there was no threat of a physical altercation, and Leniu was ushered down the corridor by club staff as words were exchanged.

The teams were sharing the same floor at the hotel.

Walters said the players had shown great support for proud Torres Strait Islander Mam, who he praised for standing up for himself.

“That is part of being a Bronco,” Walters said.

“All clubs support their peers and their mates when they are under pressure and have an incident happen that is just not tolerable. We are a tight group at the Broncos and we support each other in every way.

“(Racial slurs) are not tolerated anymore in life or in the community. Rugby league is part of the community. Ezra has every right to be upset and stand up for himself as an Indigenous player.

“The NRL now are dealing with it and we are dealing with it in-house with our player Ezra. We are getting around him. He is OK but it was a tough night for him post-game. There is a lot of support around him.”

Walters would not be drawn on what penalty Leniu should receive if found guilty.

“It is the NRL’s policy now to deal with what has happened,” he said.

“We respect everything the NRL are doing and will leave it in their hands to make a good decision on the outcome.”

Walters said Mam would “definitely” play in round two against South Sydney on March 14.

Brisbane Broncos Jordan Riki, Kotoni Staggs and Selwyn Cobbo scuffle with Sydney Roosters prop Spencer Leniu.

Spencer Leniu (right) clashed with Kotoni Staggs (left) and a number of Broncos throughout the game.(Getty Images: Ezra Shaw)

“That is still a week-and-a half away but the club will support him and get around him every way that we need to in order that he can play Thursday week,” Walters said.

After the game, while speaking to Triple M radio, Leniu dismissed the incident as “nothing” and said he was “not worried at all”.

“It’s all fun and games on the field,” he said.

Leniu also arrived home on Tuesday, telling reporters in Sydney that he was “very happy to be home”.

Brisbane teammates Reece Walsh, Kotoni Staggs and captain Adam Reynolds have all come out in support of Mam, with South Sydney’s Indigenous All Stars Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker also backing him on social media.

On a social media post calling for Leniu to be banned for 12 weeks of the season, Mitchell added on his Instagram stories: “And some.”

After being told Mam was “adamant” it happened, Roosters coach Trent Robinson said in his post-match press conference: “Ezra’s adamant? That doesn’t mean it’s right.”

Fijian-born rugby and rugby league great Lote Tuqiri said it was “gaslighting rubbish” from Robinson, and he expected better from the Roosters coach.

“If a player says he’s been racially vilified on a footy field, it’s happened!!” he tweeted.

“You can mask it & say it’s in the heat of the battle, etc etc. But I don’t get how Trent Robinson sits in a post match press conference & accuses Ezra of not being right.

“‘Doesn’t mean it’s right’ is some sort of gaslighting rubbish I didn’t think would come out of Trent Robinson’s mouth. Especially after the great way he handled Latrell’s abuse … last year.

“I’m behind Ezra all the way calling this stuff out.”


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