All Stars clash in jeopardy as NRL players face early bubble due to COVID clusters
State border restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic threaten the build-up to the All Stars game, which could see the NRL enforce a bubble earlier than originally planned.
NRL players could be forced to enter a bubble as early as the next couple of weeks as the game awaits the progress of COVID-19 outbreaks around the country.
Under current government enforced protocols players from Greater Sydney would not be allowed into Queensland for the All Stars game scheduled for Townsville on February 20.
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“We’re monitoring the situation in all of the states,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo told The Daily Telegraph.
“We are hopeful we see a low infection rate over the next couple of weeks and borders opening.
“If not, we will be ready for any situation and permutation that arises and will respond accordingly based on the advice of our experts and what we agree with each of the state governments.”
If COVID-19 case numbers rise the NRL will be forced to apply for a travel exemption with the Queensland Government, just as it did to complete the 2020 premiership season.
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That would mean players would have to adhere to biosecurity protocols, effectively placing them in a bubble scenario to restrict their interaction with the community to a bare minimum.
The NRL was hopeful the players could avoid a bubble scenario in 2021 and only have to abide by the same rules as the general public.
However that may not be possible as the NRL scramble to assess the damage caused by COVID-19 outbreaks in various states two months out from the season opener on March 11.
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Players were hoping they wouldn’t be forced into undergoing strict COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 season.
But the Queensland government is likely to force the NRL into introducing restrictions, although they are not expected to be as strict as last year.
It could lead to a number of stars pulling out of the All Stars clash if they are not keen on going into a bubble earlier than expected.
Originally published asAll Stars clash in jeopardy as NRL players face early bubble due to COVID clusters
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