Back to bubbles: NRL's drastic response to latest Sydney virus drama

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Pictured left, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has reacted swiftly to the virus outbreak in Sydney.
Sydney's virus outbreak has forced the NRL to send players back into biosecurity bubbles. Pic: Getty

NRL clubs from NSW and the ACT will go back into strict biosecurity bubbles after an emergency meeting of the ARLC in Sydney.

Players outside of Queensland were being notified by clubs on Tuesday afternoon that they are no longer allowed at cafes, restaurants or pubs, and restrictions on home visitors will resume.

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It's expected the new protocols will be enforced from Wednesday, while Queensland-based clubs will be unaffected.

It comes after ARLC chairman Peter V'landys sought advice from biosecurity experts on Tuesday morning after the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Queensland government declared anyone who resides in or has visited the Campbelltown or Liverpool areas in south-west Sydney in the past fortnight will not be allowed into the state.

Queenslanders who are returning after visiting the COVID-19 hotspots in Sydney will need to undergo hotel quarantine at their own expense.

It's expected forcing players back into the bubble will reassure the Queensland government there is no danger in allowing travel to continue for NRL players between the states.

"We won't take any risks with our players and the community,'" V'landys said in a statement.

"All our decisions are based on the data and we've said from the start, if the data changes then we will be proactive and take the necessary action required.

"We are enforcing the original protocols to ensure our players are not mixing with the general community.

"We are doing everything we can to keep the playing group healthy during this period.

Seen here, a motorist is subjected to a random COVID-19 test in Sydney.
COVID-19 testing in Sydney has ramped up in response to the latest outbreak of positive cases. Pic: Getty

"Our experts are continuing to monitor the data.

"We don't make decisions based on emotion, we make them based on data.

"We hope it's only a short spike in the infection rate, but the commission has shown we will be agile and make the appropriate changes."

QLD relocation an ‘available option’ at this stage

For now, at least, relocating the entire competition to Queensland is not being considered but remains an available option.

"We're not moving to Queensland at this point but we've got to be prepared for all scenarios and naturally that's one scenario," V'landys told AAP.

"At this stage we just want to make sure we can get to and from Queensland.

"We believe we can, even from those postcodes."

No games have been played at Campbelltown Stadium in the past 14 days, however, numerous NRL players reside in the area.

In round 10 there is only one game scheduled in Queensland, with Melbourne and Gold Coast to play on Friday night.

However, it will not be affected as both teams are already based in that state.

A Wests Tigers game against the Warriors scheduled to be played at Campbelltown Stadium on July 31 could be moved.

The latest developments come after a cluster of 28 cases of the virus have been linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, while three NRL players were put into 'COVID-hold' away from their teams on Monday.