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NRL COVID-19 Stance Under Question

NRL Panthers COVID restrictions

NRL COVID-19 Stance Under Question

Following the release of the NRL’s COVID-19 protocols for the 2022 season, which received negative backlash from athletes and fans, Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman, Peter V’landys, has defended the move.

The news comes as the league faces a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases, with some NRL coaches saying they expect to be without between three and six athletes each round of the upcoming season due to COVID-19 and the NRL’s protocols.

A number of clubs have been hit with a large number of both athletes and staff testing positive and being forced to miss out on training in the lead up to the season, with the Sydney-based and Queensland-based clubs hit hardest currently.

The new protocols, which resemble those enforced in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, see athletes and coaches not allowed to enter most indoor venues including pubs, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, and more.

Defending the league’s stance, V’landys told The Ray Hadley Morning Show: “We believe we have the systems in place to avoid disruption and we’re lucky in a sense that it’s happening now and we’re learning from the experience.”

“I believe in our system and we’ve already got 30,000 antigen tests, and it will work and minimise the disruption.

“It won’t be a hard bubble this year, it will be what we call a soft bubble.

“The players will be able to go to places but they must use common sense.

“They can’t go to pubs or nightclubs that are full of people but they can go to restaurants that are outdoor dining so their lives won’t be as disrupted as they have been the last two years because we are confident that if one player does catch it we will catch it early with the rapid antigen tests and that way they won’t infect any of the other players,” V’landys said.

Expanding on the prediction of three-six athletes to miss each round of the 2022 season, an unidentified NRL coach told Wide World of Sports: “We have been talking among a few of the coaches and medical staffs and we reckon we will have to be without three to six players most weekends if the current trend continues.”

“That will be a combination of players who actually have COVID and those who are deemed close contacts.

“It’s going to really put a strain on all clubs but this is the new world we are living in,” the coach said.

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