NEWS ‘I’ve moved on’: Mam addresses Vegas ordeal for first time as cavalry return


Even after producing his most accomplished performance of the season, Ezra Mam has declared he is still searching for his best form, and says his Las Vegas ordeal was well and truly behind him.

Brisbane’s star five-eighth was at the centre of a racism scandal for the historic season-opener in the United States that resulted in Sydney Roosters enforcer Spencer Leniu being hit with an eight-week suspension after he pleaded guilty to calling the proud Indigenous man a “monkey”.

Upon their return to Australia, Leniu attempted to come to Queensland to meet Mam and apologise in person, but Mam refused at the time.

But now, addressing the media for the first time since the incident – which drew widespread support to his corner from the likes of Latrell Mitchell – Mam revealed he intended to speak to Leniu “when the time is right” to bury the hatchet and cast aside the issue.

“I think when the time is right we will have a chat, and I appreciate that he wanted to come up and reach out to me,” Mam said.

“I’ve moved on from that now – I’ll probably just have a chat to him when I see him or whenever it is.

“I just stick up to what my beliefs are and how I was brought up as a strong cultural man. If there’s anything I’m more proud of, it’s my culture and … that’s what I’m going to stick up for. It’s my identity, that’s the reason I’m here.

“It was a bit tough, but in saying that it was a long time ago, so I’m looking forward and being present. So I’m not going to talk about it any more – I’m just going to get on with the season and start playing some good footy.”

Having showcased his finest showing of the 2024 campaign in the 34-10 triumph of the Canberra Raiders, Mam said now was the time to discover the football that had him within two minutes of a Clive Churchill Medal in last year’s grand final, as the Broncos prepare to welcome back a cavalry of marquee men.

Prop Payne Haas (knee), halfback and skipper Adam Reynolds (hamstring), edge forward Brendan Piakura (ankle) and winger Deine Mariner (back) are all expected to make their comebacks from injury against Wests Tigers on Saturday night, with all training strongly at Red Hill on Tuesday.

Without Reynolds there to support him, Mam took on a greater responsibility, looking more threatening with his kicking game close to the line while steering the side around the park.

After Brisbane navigated their way out of a testing opening 10 minutes, in which errors forced them to defend stoically, the 21-year-old ignited with a try, three try assists and three line break assists.

His support off halfback Jock Madden’s boot also set the standard, restricting the Raiders’ back three to just 61 kick return metres courtesy of his chasing off the ball.

But Mam believes the Suncorp Stadium clinic had not yet triggered his best.

Even as the Queensland Maroons juggle an injury crisis that has now claimed Kalyn Ponga, he said he had not allowed himself to ponder a State of Origin call-up.

“I’m not too focused on that at the moment. I’m not where I want to be at yet with my footy, I want to keep doing my job for the club and playing my best footy,” Mam said.

“If the opportunity comes, I’m happy to take it. But at the moment, it’s not my main priority.

“I’m trying to find that balance to get silly errors out of my game. I’m not where I want to be right now .… so it’s about continually improving and working on my game every week.”

Sydney Morning Herald


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