Cartwright dodges jab on 'medical grounds'

Murray Wenzel
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NRL TITANS TRAINING

Bryce Cartwright can now play in the NRL after gaining a medical exemption from the flu jab

Bryce Cartwright has avoided the flu shot and a club ban thanks to an 11th hour medical exemption from the Queensland government.

The Gold Coast NRL player and teammate Brian Kelly had been given until Thursday to agree to take the shot that would enable them to train and play, in line with strict state government policy.

Kelly was vaccinated earlier on Thursday but Cartwright, whose wife and children are not, held firm.

The club confirmed on Thursday night he had lodged medical documentation to seek an exemption that was granted by chief medical officer Jeannette Young.

Cartwright was reportedly facing a $450,000 salary hit if he was stood down by the club for refusing the shot on non-medical grounds.

The avenue is at odds with his previously-stated moral opposition to the vaccine.

It was a viewpoint shared by wife Shanelle, who questioned on social media on Thursday afternoon why Cartwright's NRL colleagues weren't supporting him.

While it clears every Queensland-based NRL player to train and play in the state, it is understood there are still six NRL players yet to receive the flu shot on non-medical grounds.

Canberra trio Josh Papalii, Joe Tapine and Sia Soliola, Manly's Dylan Walker and Addin Fonua-Blake and Canterbury's Sione Katoa are the others who would be able to train and play in NSW and ACT, but not Queensland.

The NRL is scheduled to restart on May 28, more than two months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold said it would be unfair and that the NRL would be "kidding themselves" to cave to the minority and make the three Queensland clubs travel for "home" games in NSW.

Titans CEO Steve Mitchell has also opposed a shift away from their home ground, with the next two weeks of the draw set to be announced on Friday.