NRL fuming after Broncos snub publicity gig
The Broncos are under fire from NRL boss Todd Greenberg after Queensland's flagship club sensationally snubbed an NRL Magic Round promotion in its own city.
The NRL's historic Magic Round featuring all 16 teams at Suncorp Stadium this weekend descended into high farce today when the Broncos were the only club which refused to attend a key promotional event in Brisbane's CBD.
NRL officials were left furious when representatives from 15 NRL clubs turned up for the Youi Million-Dollar Kick promotion ... only for the Broncos to be a no-show.
It is understood the Broncos refused to send a nominated representative because the club's chief sponsor is NRMA, a competitor to insurance rival Youi, which was sponsoring the NRL's Million-Dollar Kick.
All 16 NRL clubs will feature in eight games across four days starting tomorrow at Suncorp Stadium. Under the terms of the multi-million dollar deal struck with the Queensland government, all 16 NRL clubs are required to promote the Magic Round - putting the Broncos at risk of a contractual breach.
NRL chief executive Greenberg said the Broncos should have attended a promotional centrepiece of the NRL's inaugural Magic Round given their importance to the Brisbane market.
"This was one of the major promotions for Magic Round so clearly our preference would have been for all clubs to be represented," he said.
"However it shouldn't take the focus off what will be a wonderful event for Brisbane.
"Our clubs will be participating in a range of initiatives and activities over the course of the round."
It is understood all 16 NRL clubs received correspondence from NRL marketing chiefs asking for a nominated club representative to attend today's event.
Every club duly delivered ... except the Broncos.
Former Maroons lock Kevin Campion drove from the Gold Coast to represent the Warriors, Anthony Minichiello was there for the Roosters, while former Broncos duo Wendell Sailor and Petero Civoniceva turned up as poster boys for the Dragons and Penrith respectively.
Civoniceva arrived in a Panthers polo, but was bizarrely spotted in a Broncos polo later in the day despite Brisbane's stance against having anyone there to represent them.
Melbourne paid $800 to fly NRL squad member Scott Drinkwater to represent the Storm.
But the Broncos hit back at the NRL, insisting they had permission from the governing body's commercial arm not to attend the event.
"The Brisbane Broncos' partnership with major sponsor NRMA Insurance explains why the club opted against sending a representative to an event promoting a rival insurance brand as part of the NRL's Magic Round," a Broncos statement said.
"NRMA Insurance is one of the club's contracted "protected partners" - which means the club cannot take part in anything that promotes a rival brand in the same category.
"Once the Broncos discovered today's promotional event was sponsored by another insurance brand, the club opted out - and informed the NRL.
"The NRL fully endorsed that course of action as recently as last night, and we make we make no apology for standing with our long-term partners NRMA Insurance.
"In saying that, the Broncos have done more than any club over the past month to help promote Magic Round across the club's social media channels, promotional emails to members, and player media appearances."