Bulldogs trio in hot water with NRL over Covid-19 hot spot breach

·4-min read
Pictured here, the three Bulldogs players who allegedly breached the NRL's biosecurity protocols.
The three Bulldogs players are self-isolating after visiting a Bondi pub linked to a Sydney Covid hot spot. Pic: Getty/AAP

Three Canterbury Bulldogs players are likely to face sanction from the NRL over an apparent biosecurity breach that's forced them to self-isolate from teammates while they await the results of Covid-19 tests.

Bulldogs stars Dylan Napa and Brandon Wakeham are set to miss at least one game after attending an exposure site in Bondi's COVID cluster.

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The trio attended The Royal Hotel in Bondi on June 20, a venue where a person who tested positive for the virus is known to have attended.

The NRL revealed late on Thursday that Napa, Wakeham and youngster Aaron Schoupp had been ordered to isolate and instructed by NSW Health to undertake an immediate COVID test.

League officials said they will seek advice from biosecurity experts and NSW Health to ensure there is no risk to players from any clubs or the wider community.

The Bulldogs released a statement on Friday to confirm that the players in question had been isolated and undergone Covid-19 tests.

"The club has worked closely with the NRL to immediately self-isolate the players and send them for COVID testing. The results of those tests are expected sometime today.

"The club will release details of the results of those tests once they are known."

At the very least, Napa and Wakeham are almost certain to miss next Saturday's clash with Manly given health orders insist they isolate for 14 days regardless of the test result.

That could open the door for Kyle Flanagan's return to the NRL, with Wakeham having replaced him since he was dropped early last month.

But former Queensland State of Origin prop Napa, half Wakeham and Schoupp could find themselves in bigger trouble with the league.

Their visit to the pub appears to be in contravention of a directive issued by the NRL on June 17 to all Sydney-based clubs in which players and staff were told not to attend any restaurants, clubs or bars in the Waverley Local Government area.

While the three players isolate, the remainder of the Bulldogs squad will be unable to train until the test results are known.

Seen here, Bulldogs players in a huddle during their NRL defeat to Parramatta.
The Bulldogs squad is unable to train while they await the results from Covid tests. Pic: Getty

Sydney outbreak causing fixture headaches

The NRL said none of the three players are known to have been in contact with any Origin players ahead of Sunday's game two in Brisbane, nor are they believed to have been in contact with representatives of any other club.

The ongoing outbreak in Sydney has resulted in all clubs in the Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Central Coast areas being placed on level-three biosecurity restrictions, effectively returning them to last year's bubble.

The news came just hours after the Sydney Roosters' clash with Melbourne became the first NRL match moved as a result of the COVID outbreak.

Next Thursday's clash will now be played at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle rather than the SCG, while other clubs begin planning for further ramifications.

The Bulldogs, Warriors, Penrith and Wests Tigers also have home games in Sydney next week, but none are yet eying moves with reduced crowd capacities a likely outcome.

If the 50 per cent capacity limits were to stay in place that would come as a big blow to the Panthers and Tigers, who were both close to selling out next week's matches.

Leichhardt Oval's capacity would drop seismically, given restrictions on the hill would limit fans to one person for every four square metres.

Canterbury, along with the other 15 NRL clubs, have a break this week due to the Ampol State of Origin series and are due to host Manly at Bankwest Stadium next Saturday.

They are running 15th on the Telstra Premiership ladder with a 2-12 record, sitting above only Brisbane on for-and-against record.

with AAP

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