Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles win NRL season openers in Las Vegas as Spencer Leniu accused of racial comment

Sydney Roosters and Manly Sea Eagles win NRL season openers in Las Vegas as Spencer Leniu accused of racial comment

By abc.net.au
Monday 04/03/2024
Ezra Mam made

The 2024 NRL season starts in Las Vegas with the Sydney Roosters defeating the Brisbane Broncos 20-10, after Manly downed South Sydney 36-24 at the site of the Super Bowl.

In the 70th minute of the second clash, Brisbane five-eighth Ezra Mam made a "formal complaint" about an alleged racial comment by Roosters prop Spencer Leniu.

Referee Adam Gee said he did not hear it, and it would be dealt with after the game.

Leniu, who was born in New Zealand and represented Samoa at the last World Cup, tried to dismiss the incident as "nothing" after the game.

"It's all just fun and games on the field and that's it," he told Triple M.

"[I'm] not worried at all."

Mam is of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander descent.

It was a pockmark on the festival atmosphere of the NRL's experiment in Las Vegas, which otherwise appeared to be a success, with 40,746 people making their way into Allegiant Stadium to watch the two games.

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Former Rabbitoh Jaxson Paulo faced his old club in the opening game of the season.(AP: David Becker)

James Tedesco was the star of the night as his Roosters dismantled a sloppy Broncos side that struggled through the middle after losing Kurt Capewell, Tom Flegler and Keenan Palasia after their runner-up finish in 2023.

The Roosters benefited from strong performances from lock Victor Radley, prop Lindsay Collins and bench forward Terrell May, while Joey Manu delivered some stunning highlights on the flank.

Superstar Brisbane fullback Reece Walsh will want his time in Vegas over against after an error- and penalty-riddled performance, although he did score a try and set up another.

In the earlier game, former Tigers star Luke Brooks enjoyed a brilliant debut with the Sea Eagles, while Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic led the way as they came back from 20-12 down early in the second half to beat the Rabbitohs.

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