12 NRL stars called to US Embassy for interviews before Vegas matches

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
08/02/2024
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12 NRL players waiting on ‘green light’ from US Embassy

The ‘Vegas Dozen’ are still waiting for visas so that they can enter the US legally and play in Las Vegas.

News Insights

  • 12 Manly, Rabbitohs, Broncos, and Roosters players have been summoned to the US Embassy.
  • The players will be interviewed as a part of their visa applications.
  • All players are expected to get US travel visas.
  • The 2024 NRL season starts in Las Vegas on March 2.

The US Embassy has called 12 NRL players in for further questioning ahead of the NRL‘s season opening matches in Las Vegas. These interviews are necessary for the players to get US visas so they can actually play at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium on March 2. 

Broncos’ Reece Walsh is the biggest name caught up in this extra screening process. The names of the other members of the so-called ‘Vegas Dozen’ are unknown. 

US Embassy to grill ‘Vegas Dozen’

According to the The Daily Telegraph, a dozen NRL players and several members of staff have been called to the US Embassy for last-ditch interviews ahead of ‘D-Day’ when Sydney Roosters, Brisbane Broncos,  Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, and South Sydney Rabbitohs personnel are set to leave for Las Vegas. 

Broncos and Roosters will face off at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium on March 2 (March 3 in Australia). That match will be followed immediately by Manly versus Rabbitohs in an NRL double header in the US. 

These matches were announced in August, but clubs have still not sorted out their player visas. Reportedly, the clubs have begged the NRL for assistance on securing visas since October. The league has apparently recently stepped in to help the Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs, Broncos, and Roosters make sure they have all their players in the US by March 2. 

These interviews are just the last step for some players with red flags or things that need clarifying on their visa applications. 

Criminal record causing problems for NRL stars

The biggest issue for some NRL players hoping to go to Las Vegas is their criminal record. According to The Daily Telegraph, the ‘Vegas Dozen’ are almost all players with a criminal record. 

At time of writing, Broncos’ Reece Walsh is the only named member of the Vegas Dozen. The 21-year-old fullback was arrested back in 2021 and pleaded guilty to cocaine possession. His teammate Payne Haas, who was also arrested in 2021 for a separate incident, is believed to already have a US visa since he visited the country recently.

Rabbitohs’ Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton are some names expected to be among the Vegas Dozen. Both players were arrested in Canberra and charged with multiple charges relating to a fight that took place there. The charges were dropped, but the arrests themselves are reportedly enough for the US Embassy to ask more questions. 

V’landys confident of securing visas for all players

Commissioner Peter V’landys spoke about the recent visa holdup, saying that he believes no players will have any problems entering the US. 

“I don’t think there will be any problem,” said the ARL Commission boss. 

Some of the misdemeanours are not major, so hopefully there won’t be a problem and all the players from the four clubs will be available to play in Vegas. If you haven’t got any criminal record, it’s a five-minute process, but if you have been charged and been convicted, you have to go through an interview process,” he explained. 

Precedents have shown us that (athletes involved in) such incidents are provided with visas, so we have to go through the process. We don’t believe there will be any concerns for us with any of the players.”

We, like all NRL fans, hope V’landys is right. It would be a shame for the NRL to not have its star players available for the league’s first transcontinental showcase on such a big stage. 

You can keep up with this story as it develops and get world class NRL betting news here at BettingTop10.