Roberts needs NRL nod to return to bubble

Pamela Whaley
James Roberts may need to spend time in quarantine before rejoining teammates after his rehab stint

*James Roberts has reportedly been released from a rehabilitation centre but could go into a 14-day quarantine before he is cleared to return to NRL training with South Sydney.

NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said on Thursday a biosecurity expert was carefully assessing Roberts' case after he spent the past few weeks in a facility to deal with mental health issues.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting he was released on Thursday, a week before the NRL season starts.

Abdo said a decision could be expected before the weekend but there is a chance Roberts could be forced to isolate for two weeks outside of the Rabbitohs' bubble.

This would rule him out of Friday's clash against the Sydney Roosters and a round four match against Melbourne at AAMI Park.

Given Roberts struggled while in isolation during the shutdown period, there are concerns forcing him to miss two rounds of football and training with his teammates would not be in his best interests.

However, Abdo said any decision would be made with the view to protect all parties.

"It will be purely based on protecting the health of James, the Rabbitohs squad and the broader community," he said.

Meanwhile, a decision is expected in the coming days over potential punishment for Cody Walker after vision emerged of his involvement in a street brawl in Casino in December.

The former State of Origin five-eighth was filmed kicking a man in the chest during an altercation, but has been cleared of any wrongdoing by NSW Police.

Coach Wayne Bennett is also facing a fine for not passing on knowledge of the incident to the NRL's integrity unit.

"I'm not going to provide running commentary on an ongoing matter but I will say more generally that clubs are aware of the onus and obligations on them to report any suspected breach to the integrity unit," Abdo said.

"Clubs are well aware of their obligations ... we can expect an answer in the coming days."