NRL star axed for refusing to get vaccinated

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·Sports Reporter
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John Asiata passes the ball during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session.
John Asiata (pictued) has been released from the Bulldogs.

Bulldogs forward John Asiata has been released from the club after he refused to get vaccinated ahead of the NRL season.

Asiata moved from the Brisbane Broncos to the Bulldogs on a one-year contract for the 2022 season.

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However, he was handed a termination notice last month when he was told all players at the club had to be vaccinated.

The NRL does not have a mandate in place for players to be fully vaccinated unlike the AFL, but Canterbury have been firm on their stance.

"The Bulldogs and John Asiata have agreed to part ways by mutual consent," the club said in a statement.

"Asiata signed with the club this season but had yet to train with the squad.

"The Bulldogs wish John and his family all the best for the future."

Players' Association backs John Asiata over stance

Rugby League Players Association CEO Clint Newton said the body would support Asiata and any player over their current circumstance.

"Over the past few months the RLPA have worked proactively with clubs, including Canterbury, to work through some of the issues associated with this space," he told AAP.

"Particularly developing a framework that ultimately provides a decision making process and the best options to help guide what we'd like to think, given the circumstances, positive outcomes for players and clubs.

"We'll obviously continue to support John, all players and their respective families. Particularly in John's situation where he focuses on what's next for him and his family."

The NRL managed to finish their 2021 season in Queensland, after concerns in New South Wales forced the game to be moved North.

However, players will not be able to enter stadiums in Queensland and Victoria next year, or enter New Zealand.

Asiata has played 139 NRL games, which included 129 for the Queensland Cowboys.

He came off the bench for the Cowboys in the 2015 grand final.

with AAP

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