Refusing flu shots may derail game: Tallis

Laine Clark
Gorden Tallis admits he wouldn't be happy if a teammate took an anti-vaxx stance

Gorden Tallis says he'd be disappointed by Bryce Cartwright's decision to refuse a flu shot if he were a Gold Coast teammate, claiming the NRL star's stance could derail the game.

Cartwright was arguably the most outspoken player who rejected a vaccination which was part of the strict biosecurity measures that helped allow the NRL competition to resume on May 28 from a coronavirus shutdown.

It is believed a total of about 20 players across the NRL rejected a jab, prompting the ARL Commission to revise a vaccination waiver clause on Thursday that allowed those who refused a shot to keep playing.

However, any player who does not sign the altered waiver will be banned.

While Titans Dale Copley and Nathan Peats have publicly backed Cartwright this week, Tallis - who has worked as a Gold Coast volunteer consultant - said he wouldn't be impressed with the anti-vaxx stance if he was a teammate.

"Publicly they are going to back him because everyone is entitled to do what they want," he told Fox League Live.

"But privately I would be really disappointed because the game could be derailed so easily.

"It would safeguard your family and team by going and getting a flu shot ...(that is) getting hand delivered to them.

"I had my flu shot for the first time this year because of my family and where the world is at the moment."

But ARLC chairman Peter V'landys said he was comfortable re-starting the competition with only three per cent of NRL players expected to sign the amended waiver.

"Our medical advice is that because the vast majority have been vaccinated it doesn't put anyone at risk," he told AAP.

"A handful is not going to make that much of a difference.

"All they are doing is causing themselves inconvenience because every time they get a sniffle or sore throat they are going to have to get a test."

Players from Manly, Canterbury, Canberra and the Gold Coast are believed to have refused a shot and must now decide whether they will sign the amended waiver.

Besides Cartwright, News Corp said those players included Manly trio Dylan Walker, Marty Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake, Canberra's Josh Papalii, Sia Soliola and Joe Tapine and Canterbury's Sione Katoa.

But Gold Coast head of performance and culture Mal Meninga expected Cartwright to sign the dotted line.

"That's all been sorted out. We have some direction on that now and obviously Bryce signs the waiver," he told Fox League Live.