England rugby league centre Jack Reed, winger Daniel Vidot and utility Corey Oates have all been stood down by Brisbane for drinking mid-week.
Brisbane have sensationally axed three boozing starting players, forcing a late reshuffle for Saturday night’s NRL clash with the in-form Warriors.
Coach Anthony Griffin denied that England centre Jack Reed, winger Daniel Vidot and rising utility Corey Oates engaged in any misbehaviour but were stood down for breaching team protocol.
Griffin refused to reveal exactly when the trio went out on the town but said they knew better than to go out drinking.
“It was a lack of judgment on their part,” he said. “They were out too late on a training night and that’s something that’s not acceptable from our end.
“It’s just a lack of discipline and, as a club, we’re very proud of our standards.
“The players are remorseful they have put themselves in that position but we’ll be stronger for it as a team.”
It is an admirable but potentially costly call by the besieged Griffin.
The Broncos have lost their past three matches, including a gutting one-point defeat to the Panthers in Penrith on Monday night.
Another failure against the Warriors could mean Brisbane drop from seventh to as low as 11th.
But the coach said it wouldn’t have mattered if the incident occurred in round one or any other week – the ramifications would have been the same.
“It’s a difficult decision all the time when something like that comes up but it’s the right thing for the team and it’s not something I wanted to walk past and the players understand that,” Griffin said.
Reed, Vidot and second-rower Oates will play Queensland Cup this weekend while Lachlan Maranta and Jordan Kahu have been promoted to start on the wings at Suncorp Stadium and Dale Copley moved to centre.
Brisbane have also suffered another blow with Queensland State of Origin back-rower Matt Gillett failing to overcome an ankle injury.
Although rumours have been flying all week that some Broncos directors are keen for Wayne Bennett to return to the club, Griffin has stressed he is feeling no pressure whatsoever.
Coming off three straight wins, including a 48-0 thrashing of Parramatta in Auckland, the Warriors remain hopeful star fullback Sam Tomkins will play.
In doubt with a hip-flexor problem, Tomkins trained with the NZ outfit on Friday morning and a decision on his fitness would be left until game day.
“They’re probably the form team of the competition at the moment,” Griffin said. “They are a real handful and they’re always at their best against us so it’s always a big game when we play them.”
Meantime, Brisbane’s back-up hooker Jake Granville has signed with North Queensland while the Broncos have lured Melbourne forward Mitch Garbutt to Red Hill.