NRL rookie stood down over post-match hug

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
Stefano Utoikamanu (pictured right hugging teammate Blake Ferguson) will be sidelines after breaching the NRL's biosecurity measures when he embraced family and well-wishers after the game. (Getty Images)
Stefano Utoikamanu (pictured right hugging teammate Blake Ferguson) will be sidelines after breaching the NRL's biosecurity measures when he embraced family and well-wishers after the game. (Getty Images)

Young Parramatta prop Stefano Utoikamanu will be sidelined until friends and family he came in contact with are cleared of the coronavirus after he embraced them following the Eels’ win over the Knights.

The NRL was rocked on Monday when Bulldogs centre Jake Averillo was placed in isolation and now Utoikamanu will be placed on the NRL’s ‘Covid hold’ after an eventful weekend.

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The young prop embraced family who had come to see him play in Newcastle, which breached the game’s biosecurity measures and will be sidelined from training.

If family members and the well-wishers are cleared, he will be able to re-join training before his side’s clash against Manly on Saturday.

His coach, Brad Arthur, defended the youngster and said he was just excited following the clash.

"I didn't see it, but he's a kid making his debut," Arthur said after the game.

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"I had to change a winger to get him on there to give him a carry … 10 seconds… I think the club has talked to him about it. It's just a reaction – he was excited."

The NRL are not expected to sanction the young prop.

Bulldogs centre in isolation after Crossroad Hotel tangle

Canterbury have become entangled in the Crossroads Hotel COVID-19 cluster with centre Jake Averillo stood down from training and forced into isolation.

The 19-year-old Averillo lives at home with his parents who attended the hotel in Sydney's south-west on July 5, where 13 cases of the virus have been linked.

Averillo, who has not played in the NRL since round seven, will be tested for COVID-19 on Monday and will remain in isolation until at least July 19.

Both of his parents were tested over the weekend and will be re-tested on Sunday to ensure a clean bill of health for Averillo to return to training.