Titans deal with NRL anti-vaxxers drama

Laine Clark and Scott Bailey
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NRL TITANS TRAINING

Gold Coast's preparation for the rebooted NRL season has continued without two key players

Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook says the Titans are prepared to play without Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly after they were stood down for refusing to receive a flu shot.

Holbrook is keeping his fingers crossed the Queensland government will accept the NRL's biosecurity guidelines that allow players to sign a waiver to refuse the vaccination.

It would clear Cartwright and Kelly to return to training after they were stood down following the intervention of state authorities under a 'no jab, no play' policy.

The Queensland government was expected to make an announcement as early as Monday but talks with the NRL are ongoing.

Holbrook said the Titans could not afford to be distracted by the controversy and would "crack on" as they count down to the May 28 NRL restart.

"It could be resolved in a couple of days but it could be weeks or they may not play for the rest of the season," Holbrook said.

"It would be great if this situation can be resolved quickly.

"If not we have to prepare to play a game in three weeks and we have enough players to fill those spots.

"It's not ideal but we have to crack on without them and get on with it."

Holbrook said he was among the majority who would get the shot but admitted the choice was not that simple for Cartwright and Kelly.

"I am one of the 98 per cent...of the community who would say just get the shot and come back to work," he said.

"For those uncomfortable getting the shot there is a bit more to it.

"It is a difficult one.

"Those two per cent they have different views and different circumstances; it is not easy for those guys."

Up to 20 players across the NRL have refused to be vaccinated for varying reasons.

A biosecurity document sent to players and governments last week by the NRL said all players must receive the vaccine, unless they sign a waiver to continue playing, but the Queensland government stood firm.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant reaffirmed on Monday her state wouldn't adopt Queensland's stance.

"It is really a matter for the NRL as a workplace employer to consider their occupational health and safety obligations," Chant said.

But the NSW government has pushed for as many people as possible in the state to have the vaccination.

NRL players' union board member and Cronulla captain Wade Graham has been vocal, putting pressure on his colleagues to accept the jab.

Brisbane veteran Darius Boyd said on Monday players would have to abide by the protocols or accept the fact that they couldn't play.

"We all have to do our best to get the game up and running," he said.

"If you have different beliefs that's fine but they are the rules."

However, Canterbury's Sione Katoa posted a passionate defence of his anti-vaccination stance.

"We used to be very pro-vax and judged those who chose not to vaccinate," he said on Instagram.

"Those judgements quickly passed as soon as vaccines caused health issues for our eldest son, Chase.

"After seeking advice from medical professionals and seeing the positive impact that it had on our sons health, we made the informed decision to no longer vaccinate ourselves or our children."