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UPDATE: NSW and ACT NRL players forced back into bubbles

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14th July, 2020
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NRL clubs based in NSW and the ACT will be sent back into a biosecurity bubble with hopes that travel to and from Queensland will be allowed to continue.

Players outside of Queensland were being notified by clubs on Tuesday afternoon that they are no longer allowed at cafes, restaurants or pubs, and restrictions on home visitors will resume.

It’s expected the new protocols will be enforced from Wednesday, while Queensland-based clubs will be unaffected.

It comes after ARLC chairman Peter V’landys sought advice from biosecurity experts on Tuesday morning after the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Queensland government declared anyone who resides in or has visited the Campbelltown or Liverpool areas in south-west Sydney in the past fortnight will not be allowed into the state.

Queenslanders who are returning after visiting the COVID-19 hotspots in Sydney will need to undergo hotel quarantine at their own expense.

It’s expected forcing players back into the bubble will reassure the Queensland government there is no danger in allowing travel to continue for NRL players between the states.

“We won’t take any risks with our players and the community,'” V’landys said in a statement.

“All our decisions are based on the data and we’ve said from the start, if the data changes then we will be proactive and take the necessary action required.

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“We are enforcing the original protocols to ensure our players are not mixing with the general community. 

“We are doing everything we can to keep the playing group healthy during this period.

“Our experts are continuing to monitor the data. 

“We don’t make decisions based on emotion, we make them based on data.

“We hope it’s only a short spike in the infection rate, but the commission has shown we will be agile and make the appropriate changes.”

For now, at least, relocating the entire competition to Queensland is not being considered but remains an available option.

“We’re not moving to Queensland at this point but we’ve got to be prepared for all scenarios and naturally that’s one scenario,” V’landys told AAP.

“At this stage we just want to make sure we can get to and from Queensland.

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“We believe we can, even from those postcodes.”

No games have been played at Campbelltown Stadium in the past 14 days, however, numerous NRL players reside in the area.

In round 10 there is only one game scheduled in Queensland, with Melbourne and Gold Coast to play on Friday night.

However, it will not be affected as both teams are already based in that state.

A Wests Tigers game against the Warriors scheduled to be played at Campbelltown Stadium on July 31 could be moved.

The latest developments come after a cluster of 28 cases of the virus have been linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, while three NRL players were put into ‘COVID-hold’ away from their teams on Monday.

© AAP