NRL players left seething over Queensland government backflip

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured here speaking to the media in Queensland.
The Queensland government has backflipped on a decision to allow NRL players' families into the state this weekend. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

NRL players and clubs are reportedly fuming after the Queensland government backflipped on an agreement to let their families into the state on Saturday.

The NRL announced last weekend that 12 clubs would be temporarily relocated to Queensland due to the Covid-19 crisis in Sydney.

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All NSW and ACT-based clubs have moved into three dedicated hubs in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, doing so under the proviso that players' families would be able to join them immediately.

The Melbourne Storm were also relocated on Thursday after Victoria was plunged back into lockdown for five days.

The Queensland government had initially agreed to allow players' families into the state this weekend, but those plans have since been changed.

The Queensland government is now demanding hundreds of individual requests from family members for entry into the state after initially agreeing to accept a group application.

The state's chief medical officer Dr Jeanette Young on Friday said she had not denied access for families permanently but would need a solid plan to approve.

"I just need a plan, which hotel, how it will be managed, I need all the staff in that hotel vaccinated, I need all of that work done and they just haven't had a chance to do any of that," she said.

"Once you've done all of that, and I've had the opportunity to make sure that that plan meets all my very, very strict requirements, then we can work together to sort it out."

Parramatta Eels players, pictured here training at Kellyville Park before moving to Queensland.
Parramatta Eels players train at Kellyville Park this week before moving to Queensland. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

On Friday morning, ARL chairman Peter V'landys told 2GB the next 48 hours will be dedicated to getting individual applications across the line with the Queensland government.

"I'm very confident we'll have players' wives and the children there," he said.

"Queensland government is being very careful, it requires more detail individually for each person that's going and that's going to take time.

"We also have to prove that our quarantine facilities are foolproof and we'll do all that in the next two days and then I'm confident the wives will go up there.

"They changed it from initially it was applications as groups but now it's individuals."

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Melbourne Storm rushed back to Queensland

Meanwhile, Melbourne's State of Origin stars were asked to turn around and fly back to Queensland after the Victorian government announced a snap five-day lockdown.

Amid new COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, the Storm have also been forced to relocate to Queensland, setting up camp in the state for the second time this season after already spending 47 days on the Sunshine Coast.

The Storm were home in Melbourne for just two weeks, but the NRL has been forced to act quickly to get the club into Queensland and into a hub in time for Saturday night's clash with Newcastle.

That game was to have been at AAMI Park as their first home game since round eight, but it will be shifted to a southeast Queensland location.

It has come as a blow for the reigning premiers who also spent four months of last season in camp on the Sunshine Coast after originally hoping to be there for only a few short weeks.

Origin stars Christian Welch, Cameron Munster, Felise Kaufusi, Josh Addo-Carr and Nicho Hynes were on a charter flight back to Melbourne after Queensland's 20-18 win on Wednesday night when the decision was made.

They landed in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon and returned to their homes to pack a fresh bag before heading back to Queensland with the Storm squad.

"We are really disappointed we won't be able to play in front of our members and fans again this weekend as we hoped to," Storm chief executive Justin Rodski said, adding they hope to return to Melbourne to play Penrith on July 31.

with AAP

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