'Not a good look': NRL accused of breaking key virus promise

ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys speaks to the media in Sydney. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The NRL will have to convince Queensland's chief health officer that it's safe to resume the 2020 season after some players refused to get their flu shots.

Players with religious, medical or conscientious objections to flu vaccination can now sign a waiver allowing them to train and play when the suspended season resumes.

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Federal authorities had been pushing for a no jab, no play policy but the ARL Commission has given concerned players a way out.

It's believed about 20 players have refused to be vaccinated for the flu, on various grounds.

Queensland Health Minister Stephen Miles accused the sport of breaking its own plan to safely resume play amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“This was their plan, they came up with this, they put it to us,” he told ABC radio on Friday.

Stephen Miles speaks to the media during a press conference on the Gold Coast. (AAP Image/Tim Marsden)

He said Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young would meet later in the day with the NRL to voice her concerns.

“Jeannette assessed it as being a good plan, and one that was safe. It's their plan and they have to implement it,” he said.

Asked if the NRL had broken a promise, the minister said: “It's not a good look, frankly, that so quickly into this agreement they've not been able to implement their own plan.”

He also warned the NRL could not “arbitrarily” change their plan for the safe resumption of play, and that Dr Young wold have to give her approval.

“They have responsibility to implement the plan that has been approved.”

NRL changes clause in vaccination waiver

Despite pressure to adopt a “no jab, no play” policy, the ARL Commission revised a vaccination waiver clause to allow NRL players to play if they refuse to get a flu shot.

However, V'landys has warned players who do not sign the altered waiver will be banned.

The governing body on Thursday tinkered with the clause after it emerged Canberra trio Josh Papalii, Sia Soliola and Joseph Tapine refused to sign the waiver on religious grounds and Gold Coast's Bryce Cartwright defiantly rejected vaccination.

Overall three per cent of NRL players refused a flu shot that formed part of strict biosecurity measures that will allow the league's resumption on May 28.

“A clause has been taken out. It used to say they believe by not having it (vaccination) that would put them medically at risk - well they don't believe that,” V'landys told AAP.

“So we have changed that to say that they have been advised by their medical officer that they are at risk. It should've been like that in the first place to be honest.

“So if any player doesn't execute the waiver they will not be able to play.”

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday backed Prime Minister Scott Morrison's call that players who refused vaccination should be banned.

However, V'landys was comfortable with players who refused a flu shot to continue playing as long as they signed the revised waiver.

“My advice is that the people who didn't want to sign the waiver, if the clause was changed they would sign without a problem,” he said.

“We have listened to them (players), we have made amendments but that's final. If they don't sign it, they won't play.”