Brett Finch kiss photo sparks NRL virus investigation

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Former NRL half-back Brett Finch is pictured planting a kiss on the cheek of a radio host.
Former NRL half-back Brett Finch has been sent away from the league's biosecurity hub in Queensland, after he was pictured kissing, smoking and drinking with podcast hosts in breach of league rules. Picture: Instagram

Barely an hour after watching the Warriors' loss to Penrith in the coaches box in Gosford, Brett Finch was removed from the club's NRL bubble for a suspected biosecurity breach.

The former State of Origin representative was brought into the Warriors' biosecurity bubble in an advisory role last week to help with player welfare.

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However, on Friday night the NRL launched an investigation into whether Finch had breached the strict terms of the bubble after being involved on a podcast on Thursday.

Pictures showed him kissing the host on the cheek after the recording, which breaks strict protocols set by the NRL to continue through the coronavirus pandemic.

"He has been isolated from the Warriors' group until we get advice from the biosecurity experts," an NRL spokesman said.

It is the latest in a string of bubble breaches over the past week with Brisbane player Tevita Pangai Jr and South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett the most high profile.

Three Broncos trainers and St George Illawarra forward Paul Vaughan were also nabbed by the NRL for breaking the rules.

In the past two weeks the NRL has handed out $75,000 worth of fines for breaking the biosecurity protocols.

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Brisbane have declared their innocence after a pub lunch attended by 10 players intended to celebrate the end of harder lock down measures became the latest biosecurity breach under investigation at the embattled NRL club.

Queensland police and the NRL are looking into the incident, in which 10 players enjoyed a steak on August 1 at the Everton Park Hotel in potential breach of the league's strict coronavirus protocols.

It follows a separate COVID-19 breach on Saturday by Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Jr that prompted the NRL to propose a $30,000 fine and indefinitely boot him from the NRL's bubble.

Brisbane great and current trainer Allan Langer is among three staff stood down after attending another private function at the Caxton Hotel.

And coach Anthony Seibold is also in a 14-day COVID-19 hold after attending to a private family matter in Sydney after last weekend's game.

Brisbane Broncos players are pictured looking dejected during an NRL game.
The Brisbane Broncos have found themselves at the centre of a series of off-field COVID-19 breaches, amid a disastrous season on the field. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Broncos said on Wednesday the group lunched with the understanding they were not breaking protocols under what were relaxed Project Apollo rules at the time.

They had gathered to mark the end of their 14-day hard lockdown following a 48-0 mauling against West Tigers in Sydney on July 17.

Rules allowed players in Queensland teams, when they haven't played in Sydney in the past 14 days, to dine at cafes and restaurants, but not attend pubs.

However, restaurants within pubs were okayed, as long as players remain within that area and seated at a table with their own group.