- Strict US border control measures are in place
- Past indiscretions meant they had to provide explanations
- All players for historic clashes have now been cleared
NRL fans will get to see the full complement of stars in Vegas for the historic season-opener in the United States with the final players receiving their visas to travel for their respective clashes.
A number of players were sweating on being let into the United States because of past indiscretions, with Brisbane Broncos fullback Reece Walsh and Sydney Roosters star Brandon Smith the last players to receive approval on Friday.
Walsh was placed on a good behaviour bond and fined $400 after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine and contravening a police move-on direction in 2022.
Smith’s case was perhaps the most curious, as he had to give the United States Government a please explain over an incident that occurred a decade ago when he was playing under-20s for the North Queensland Cowboys.
Both had their visas referred to the US Government, but were granted them early Friday morning.
Walsh posed for photos with teammate Adam Reynolds after flying to Sydney to get his visa approved for the round one NRL clash against the Roosters in Vegas
Roosters star Brandon Smith was all smiles after getting the paperwork sorted for his trip to Vegas
It is a relief for both the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters, but also for NRL boss Peter V’landys who has made no secret of his desire to use Walsh to sell the game to US footy fans.
‘He’s got charisma and presence, Reece Walsh,’ V’landys told Nine’s Today in the lead up to the 2023 NRL grand final.
‘He’s the Justin Bieber of rugby league. They look like brothers.’
Meanwhile it was also good news for South Sydney teammates, friends and relatives Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton who were also granted visas this week.
They had to offer up an explanation over they were charged with fight in public place, affray, and obstruct/ resist territory officials after they allegedly brawled on a Canberra street after a night of drinking for Wighton’s 30th birthday.
The charges were later dropped.
Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton had their charges dropped last year so were able to secure their visas for Vegas
Mitchell has even launched his own line of t-shirts to celebrate the historic NRL clashes in Las Vegas
Mitchell wasted no time showing his delighting in being granted a visa, releasing a limited edition clothing run that reads ‘Trellmit Vegas Takeover’.
‘I’m happy mate,’ Mitchell said.
‘It was pretty quick in there. We’re approved and ready to go. Can’t wait for Vegas.
‘Vegas is great and fresh eyes I get to play in front of so let’s go.’
Souths back rower Michael Chee Kam and assistant coach John Sutton were also cleared to fly to Vegas.
One of the more curious visa cases was Manly Sea Eagles recruit Luke Brooks, whose past indiscretion had escaped public scrutiny over an incident in 2017.
‘It’s all good. Just getting my visa sorted. It’s up to the people in charge, so we’ll see what happens,’ Brooks told reporters after his interview with US officials.