The NRL is reportedly discussing plans to relocate Sydney teams to Queensland amid growing concerns about a virus cluster in NSW.
The NRL is seeking assurances from the Queensland government that players who have visited Sydney's COVID-19 “hotspots” will be exempt from a mandatory hotel quarantine period.
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On Tuesday Queensland declared anyone who has visited the Campbelltown or Liverpool areas in south west Sydney in the past fortnight will not be allowed into the state.
Queenslanders who are returning after visiting them will need to undergo hotel quarantine at their own expense.
The NRL hopes an existing exemption for teams to enter the state despite earlier border closures will simply continue given the game's strict biosecurity measures.
No games have been played at Campbelltown Stadium in the past 14 days, however numerous NRL players reside in the area.
Veteran NRL journalist Danny Weidler reported on Tuesday that there is “a plan in the background” to relocate teams to Queensland.
BREAKING: NRL to meet with bio security expert after areas in Sydney’s west identified as “hot spots” for virus. It impacts travel to Qld. NRL need to determine if they are exempt. Believe there is a plan in the background to relocate teams to Qld . @9NewsSyd @NRLonNine— Danny Weidler (@Danny_Weidler) July 13, 2020
Phil Gould discussed the dilemma on 100% Footy on Monday night.
“What I do know is the NRL is prepared,” Gould said.
“This will not exclude moving all teams to Brisbane to a safe environment to continue the competition if they have to. They’re ready and loaded.
“They are ready to go, if in fact the borders shut again and we’re in lockdown again, Peter V’landys will pick up the teams and move them to Queensland or anywhere else he has to do to keep the competition going. He will do everything and anything he can to play.
“They’ve got it prepared. They’re ready. Planes are at the ready.”
Three NRL players in COVID-hold situation
Penrith’s four-try rookie hero Charlie Staines has been stood down from all club duties after hosting family and friends at his home and then attending hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The 19-year-old breached the NRL's biosecurity guidelines by having 10 visitors at his place of residence, when only five are allowed at a time with the maximum of 10 per day.
He then suffered lock jaw - a condition he has suffered in the past - and went to Nepean Hospital at around 2.30am on Sunday morning before being released.
“Charlie has been extremely naive on this occasion and inadvertently breached the protocols that are in place to protect the game,” Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said in a statement.
“His misunderstanding of the specifics of the guidelines can not be overlooked, nor can his failure to contact the club before seeking medical treatment for his jaw condition.
“The club and Charlie will now work closely with the NRL to ensure all necessary steps are taken to rectify the situation.”
Canterbury player Jake Averillo and Parramatta's Stefano Utoikamanu were also isolated from their respective teams on Monday.
Averillo's standown comes after the Bulldog became entangled in Sydney's Crossroads Hotel COVID-19 cluster, with the player denied access to training and forced to relocate to a hotel.
The 19-year-old lives with his parents who on July 5 attended the hotel in Sydney's south-west, to which 21 cases of COVID-19 have since been linked.
Averillo was tested for the virus on Monday, while his parents were tested over the weekend and will be re-tested before he is cleared to return to training.
Averillo's situation comes as a Parramatta rookie was prevented from attending Eels training on Monday after he breached NRL biosecurity protocols on Sunday night.
Utoikamanu made his NRL debut in the win over Newcastle but broke health regulations by embracing family members and friends in the crowd after full-time.
The 20-year-old remains a part of the Eels' bubble, but is unable to return to training until the people he made close contact with pass a COVID-19 test.