Sunday Territorian

Players’ sharp response to push higher vaccinatio­n rates


NEW figures have revealed how hard NRL players are tackling vaccinatio­n but also that the game still has a long way to go.

Leaked vaccinatio­n data supplied to the NRL from all 16 clubs can be revealed amid a constant backdrop of uncertaint­y for any NRL player who chooses not to vaccinate.

Different training schedules to their vaccinated teammates, the likelihood of being unable to travel interstate or play away games and the potential of forfeiting their milliondol­lar contracts are all possibilit­ies for unvaccinat­ed players.

The NRL is stopping short of making vaccinatio­n for players mandatory across the code – a position that has confused some clubs and commentato­rs. As a result, there will be NRL players who choose not to vaccinate.

It’s a burning issue the clubs and governing body know is headed their way. However, the data suggests the risk of a mass-player revolt can be considered low. Since the NRL launched it’s campaign on August 16, almost three quarters of the list of players registered to a top-30 first grade contract have had their first jab.

The timing of when players have finished their season or return to their place of residence from their Queensland relocation hub and annual leave entitlemen­ts are factors being put forward by clubs as to why some players are yet to receive their first jab. The Eels and Sharks have only one player left from their top-30 squad who is yet to receive their first jab.

Other clubs, like the Titans, Tigers and Broncos have proven slow-burns.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo spoke with measured confidence – and warning – when asked about the code’s vaccinatio­n-numbers.

“There is more work to do but we are heading in the right direction,” he said.

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