Breaches put NRL comp at risk: V'landys

Brisbane forward Tevita Pangai Jr has been isolated after breaching NRL biosecurity protocols.
Brisbane forward Tevita Pangai Jr has been isolated after breaching NRL biosecurity protocols.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has warned NRL players and staff who breach the biosecurity bubble are risking their income for generations to come.

After a string of COVID-19 protocol breaches by some of the biggest names in the game over the weekend, the NRL has flagged tougher penalties to ensure the message is clear.

"It's extremely disappointing because they're putting at risk not only their own income but the income of a lot of people in the game," V'landys said on Monday.

"And not only their income now but their income for the future in the next two to three years, probably generations.

"Because if our game stops, we'll need to borrow money and those monies will need to be repaid at some point."

NRL players this year are receiving 80 per cent of their contracted wage, but a loss in revenue could trigger further cuts.

V'landys said while the majority of players are adhering to the rules, the one per cent who aren't can ruin credibility with governments, which would shut down the competition or cause severe disruption.

Once such deal is with the NSW government to take an NRL match to Tamworth later this month to boost the local economy.

The Warriors used the town as a base for quarantine when they first arrived from New Zealand back in March, and they will host Newcastle at Scully Park on August 29.

A crowd of around 5000 is expected dependent on the state's infection rate at the time.

V'landys defended the decision, saying daily transmission numbers are decreasing in NSW and NRL clubs remain under strict biosecurity standards.

However, in response to recent breaches, Queensland's chief health officer warned the season could be shut down if players did not follow the strict protocols.

Several players and coaching staff are in periods of mandatory isolation after breaching the NRL's protocols in the past week, including Brisbane enforcer Tevita Pangai Jr, South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett and St George Illawarra forward Paul Vaughan.

Dr Jeanette Young said while NRL officials were doing all they could to adhere to biosecurity protocols, players were putting the season's future in jeopardy.

"There have been a number of breaches that potentially put the season at risk," Dr Young said.

"I'm satisfied that management are dealing with this very, very seriously. I'm not sure that players understand the seriousness."

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was confident the NRL would do all it could to stamp out further breaches but it was disappointing the matter had to be addressed at all.

"Incredibly frustrating, because Queenslanders are doing the right thing and this puts at risk all the great work that Queenslanders have done," she said.

"Every code that's here in Queensland has signed up to an industry plan and must do the right thing."

Australian Associated Press