Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

MISBEHAVIN­G PLAYERS ON THIN ICE

- TRAVIS MEYN, PETER BADEL

PETER V’landys has made an impassione­d plea for NRL players and their families to behave and keep the game alive after the Queensland Government sensationa­lly threatened to kick the code out of the Sunshine State.

The 2021 NRL premiershi­p is on a knife’s edge after Queensland’s Chief Health Office Dr Jeannette Young issued a stunning threat to those breaching Covid protocols.

Families of players were filmed flouting biosecurit­y restrictio­ns by passing items between hotel balconies on day one of quarantine on the Gold Coast.

Penrith hooker Api Koroisau is also under investigat­ion by the NRL Integrity Unit for potential Covid breaches during the recent State of Origin series.

The NRL has been issued exemptions to relocate the entire competitio­n to Queensland but after only one round has already encountere­d dramas, prompting Dr Young to issue an ultimatum.

“I’m getting very close to it,” she said on Friday when asked about shutting down the NRL. “I’m very very concerned about what is happening with these NRL players and you would have seen that imagery of that family hotel where they were sharing goods between verandas. So I am very concerned.”

When asked what would be the final straw, Dr Young said: “If I have any more breaches. I am very concerned. It’s for all of them (clubs and families). This is too risky. We just cannot have people deliberate­ly breaching the rules.”

ARLC chairman V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo have worked around the clock to keep the season alive after NSW and Victoria’s Covid outbreaks forced the game to relocate. V’landys said the future of rugby league hinged on the players, families and officials following rules while in Queensland.

“We totally understand Dr Young’s frustratio­n,” V’landys said. “We appreciate that we are guests and as guests we should be respectful and act accordingl­y.

“The players last year did a fantastic job in following the protocols. I hope they realise how important it is now not to put a foot out of place.

“It’s not only their salaries that are under threat, it’s every other player and future generation­s. If the competitio­n doesn’t finish it will cause severe financial consequenc­es. If one does the wrong thing it has unfortunat­e consequenc­es for everyone.”

Abdo addressed the balcony breach in a late-night telephone hook-up on Thursday and pleaded with families to do the right thing or risk having quarantine privileges revoked. He asked families not to be publicly critical of the Queensland Government’s rules and quarantine conditions.

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