South Sydney Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell and three teammates have been tested for the coronavirus, after Mitchell reported flu-like symptoms days after breaching social distancing guidelines.
The planned restart of the NRL could be in peril, with teams already making arrangements to resume training and competition as federal and state look COVID-19 related restrictions.
Mitchell and three other teammates were immediately sent home from the first day of training, which incorporated being tested for the virus, after showing flu-like symptoms.
The news comes a week after Mitchell and Melbourne Storm star Josh Addo-Carr were fined by NSW Police and the NRL for breaching social distancing rules, when they and 10 others went on a camping trip.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson was also sent for a coronavirus test upon his return to training on Monday.
When approached by the Sydney Morning Herald, Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett refused to reveal the identities of the three other players who had been sent home, and insisted none of the players had entered the Rabbitohs training facility.
“We are all following protocols. We all want to be back playing footy and we all understand what it is going to take - there wasn't one complaint today,” Bennett said.
“The doctor questioned them upon entering the training facility and our medical staff were there with doctors to undergo screening.
“They were asked all questions about whether they had a sore throat, runny nose or have been coughing.
“If they had one of those symptoms in the last 24 hours we sent them straight off to be tested for coronavirus.
“We should have the results back by tomorrow morning. If they are symptom free they'll be fine and back in with everyone else. If they are positive, then they never entered our facility.”
Channel 9 reporter Danny Weidler said Bennett had downplayed the four players’ symptoms, stressing that the club was simply being overly cautious.
BREAKING: Latrell Mitchell sent home from Souths head quarters for COVID 19 testing after displaying cold like symptoms just days after breaking social distancing and isolation rules. Three other Souths players sent for testing. @9NewsSyd @NRLonNine— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) May 4, 2020
“Wayne Bennett has said in a normal circumstance you might not have noticed his symptoms, but these are not normal times so he had to be sent away,” he told Nine News.