NRL great Mat Rogers says there's "no evidence" to support anti-vaxxers, as Gold Coast Titans star Bryce Cartwright looks set to backflip on his own stance.
Cartwright and Titans teammate Brian Kelly were stood down after the Queensland government insisted the NRL follow the state's "no jab, no play" policy on mandatory flu vaccinations.
‘BIT CRAZY’: Karl cracks up over Freddy's flu shot comments
However, the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday reported that Kelly had agreed to get to flu shot, with the club imposing a Thursday deadline for both players.
It’s set to leave Cartwright as the only player in the NRL to be sidelined over his anti-vax stance, although the same report says the threat of losing his job and $450,000 salary has left the 25-year-old on the cusp of a stunning backflip.
Cartwright and his wife Shanelle have been perhaps the most vocal anti-vaxxers in Australian rugby league, consistently arguing that it is their right to choose what goes inside their bodies.
Anti-vaxxers often point to a widely debunked link to autism as a reason why they choose not to listen to medical advice around vaccinations.
Rogers - a dual international and foundation Titans legend - says his own personal experience taught him how "ridiculous" that belief is.
The 44-year-old's son Max suffers from autism and Rogers initially bought into the idea that the condition could have come as a result of a vaccination.
Rogers labels anti-vaxxer argument ‘ridiculous’
However, he says extensive research made him see the folly of that notion and has urged the NRL's anti-vaxxers to see the bigger picture.
“That whole vaccination world just drives me insane,” Rogers told Channel Nine.
“I understand, I’ve got an autistic child, and I thought it might have been a vaccine.
“I have done that much research and there’s just no evidence of that. It’s just a doctor that came out and said some things a couple of years ago (and) he actually got struck off.
“To think that hundreds of thousands of people in the medical industry are all holding a secret and keeping the rest of us in the dark is just ridiculous.”
Rogers says while he respects everyone's freedom of choice, players need to understand that as employees of the NRL, they are required to abide by the organisation's codes.
“Really the only people who can be pro-choice are the people who run their own ship,” he added.
“Every employee out there has stipulations. You can’t go to work everyday and just choose what you want to do.
“That’s the reality of being an employee and that’s what you do when you put your hand up to play in the NRL, you’re an employee.
“You’re a part of a team, and that team relies on you. Sacrifices need to be made.”