Brisbane Broncos head coach Kevin Walters has admitted he was frustrated over how the NRL handled the Payne Haas controversy despite understanding that his players need to uphold a clean image of the club.
Haas was filmed earlier this season trading blows with teammate Albert Kelly in a drunken brawl, while Broncos winger Selwyn Cobbo was charged with driving a vehicle unregistered and uninsured whilst also holding a suspended licence.
Walters said that compared to incidents in the past, Haas and Cobbo dealt with far more criticism, and he believes the pair were treated unfairly.
“The Payne one, I was disappointed in the way that was all handled,” Walters said on SEN 1170 Afternoons.
“I didn’t really believe he did a whole lot wrong, and it was only that it was filmed.
“He served his suspension, but I didn’t agree with the NRL.
“We are disappointed with Selwyn but he was unaware he didn’t have a current driver's licence.
“In his mind and his knowledge, he thought his licence was ongoing.
“He hasn’t upgraded with Queensland transport on where he is living so they can send him certain things that let him know he doesn’t have a licence.
“He wants to be a good role model and he’s a great young fella.
“He just got it wrong in that regard and we just copped the fine and suspension and he’ll back out there this week against Manly.”
Cobbo has been a terrific addition for the Broncos in the last two seasons, with the winger scoring crucial two tries in the club’s Round 9 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Walters said the 19-year-old and several of his teammates do invaluable charity work off the field away from the headlines.
“If they can help a group of men and women and put a smile on their face and that’s great news.
“A lot of our guys are doing tremendous work in the community, hospitals and the lot but nobody hears about it.
“99% of the players have goodness in their heart every day of the week and sometimes we make a couple of bad decisions.”
The Broncos are looking to win four matches in a row when they take on the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night during Magic Round.