'Not right': Queensland Premier's apology for NRL exemptions

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Queensland premier Annastacia Palasczuk has conceded it was a poor decision to allow the families of NRL players into the state while other citizens were barred from returning home, and offered an apology. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)
Queensland premier Annastacia Palasczuk has conceded it was a poor decision to allow the families of NRL players into the state while other citizens were barred from returning home, and offered an apology. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made an apology to Queenslanders after admitting it was a mistake to allow families of NRL players to fly into the state.

Despite a recent ban on interstate travellers entering Queensland, an exemption was made for the families of NRL players, whose teams are temporarily based in the state due to lockdowns in NSW and Victoria.

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The premier conceded Queenslanders were angered by the arrival of about 100 partners and children of NRL players, along with some league officials, when there was a ban on interstate arrivals.

"I apologise, it was not the right thing to do when we had the pause," she said on Friday.

"It shouldn't have happened. Unfortunately, it did happen, and I extend my apologies to the public about that."

In response to the public backlash that occurred after the exemption was made, Ms Palaszcuk defended the decision, saying the families were quarantining in an NRL-funded hotel outside of the state's caps.

However by Friday, she conceded that the exemption was 'not the right look'.

"They were out there they were outside the cap," she said. 

"I understand that Queenslanders could see that while we were restricting the number of Queenslanders who could come in, it was not the right look. I accept that."

Before her apology over the NRL arrivals, the premier had some good news for people affected by the ban on interstate arrivals.

From Monday, an extra 680 hotel quarantine rooms will be available, adding to 50 that open up on Saturday.

"We did have that pressure cooker situation. Having that week of respite has been really good," Ms Palaszczuk said.

NRLW players take swipe at NRL over stranded stars

Meanwhile, NRLW player representatives have taken aim at the NRL for a lack of communication over the postponement of the season that has left New Zealand-based players stranded in Australia indefinitely.

Eight players signed to NRLW clubs across the competition arrived in Australia in early July but are now in limbo after the border was suddenly closed between the countries due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

NRLW was originally scheduled to start in August, was then shifted to October but will now be played at the start of 2022.

In a meeting of the RLPA women's players advisory group (WPAG) on Monday night, complaints ranged from a lack of communication to a lack of support from the NRL over the decision to delay the competition.

WPAG has called on the NRL to make the repatriation of New Zealand players Karli Hansen, Ngatokotoru Arakua, Annetta Nu'uausala, Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly, Charlotte Scanlan, Katelyn Vaha'akolo, Maitua Feterika and Kararaina Wira-Kohu its main priority.

Broncos star Ngatokotoru Arakua is one of several New Zealand-based NRLW player who have been left in limbo in Australia after delays to the start of the NRLW competition. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Broncos star Ngatokotoru Arakua is one of several New Zealand-based NRLW player who have been left in limbo in Australia after delays to the start of the NRLW competition. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

"We are committed to advancing the interests of the entire playing group and Women's Rugby League and we know it's more important than ever to support each other and offer our voice when we can, and this is one of those moments," a statement from the WPAG read.

"The New Zealand-based players made a significant personal commitment to relocate to Australia to play in the NRLW, and they are now stranded, unable to return home.

"Frustratingly, the communication, level of support and understanding of the effects the delayed competition announcement would have on the repatriation of these players by NRL leadership, has not met our collective expectations."

With AAP

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