NQ Origin duo can fly back to Townsville

Pamela Whaley, Scott Bailey and Ed Jackson
·2-min read

Queensland State of Origin duo Coen Hess and Valentine Holmes will be able to fly home to Townsville on Thursday after finally being granted clearance by state health officials.

Maroons players and officials had remained in limbo as late as Tuesday about how they would exit the NRL's bubble and enter quarantine in the state.

Officials had been waiting on answers from Queensland Health, with individual exit plans made for each player and staff member on their movements after Wednesday's decider.

Those were finally approved by the state government on Tuesday afternoon, alleviating some stress within the camp.

All staff and players will need to serve at least one week in quarantine, where they will still have to practice social distancing among family members.

The first night will be spent in camp on the Gold Coast immediately after the game, before each player goes their own way.

But the situation was even trickier for the Cowboys duo based in Townsville, given the distance and transport required to return home.

At one stage it was feared they could have to make a 14-hour trip by road, a task virtually impossible given the need to rest and refuel.

However approval was given late on Tuesday afternoon to travel by plane, with personal protective equipment to distance themselves from other passengers.

It comes at the end of a long year for exhausted NRL players and officials after first entering the league's bio-safe bubble in May to keep the game going.

Melbourne players such as Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Josh Addo-Carr and Ryan Papenhuyzen have not been home since June when the Storm were forced into an interstate camp.

Players and officials from both Origin teams have been tested regularly for COVID while in camp, as well as filling out several health and wellbeing reports each day.

Queensland Health were approached for comment but did not respond.