The NRL’s immediate future is at risk while families have been hit with a balcony ban.
It comes after the latest alleged biosecurity breach and vision of families breaching government protocols.
Panthers and Blues player Apisai Koroisau is under investigation following claims he breached the biosecurity bubble while in NSW Origin camp.
Meanwhile, NRL families were captured on camera passing food down to each other over balconies while quarantining in hotels.
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Such actions are deemed a breach of government protocols in Queensland.
As a response, CEO Andrew Abdo had to deliver the news to families on Friday that they would now be banned from using balconies.
Meanwhile, families now risk being sent back home if they break the quarantine rules again.
The NRL itself is in jeopardy after the latest alleged beach by Koroisau.
The NRL relocated teams to Queensland in a bid to keep playing while a COVID outbreak hit New South Wales and have been granted exemptions to do so.
Queensland’s Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young though warned on Friday the non-Queensland teams could soon be kicked out.
Asked on Friday at what point the NRL’s exemptions could be revoked, Dr Young said: “I’m getting very close to it.”
“Yes, I’m very, very concerned about what is happening with these NRL players,” she added
“You would have seen that imagery of the family hotel where they were sharing goods between verandahs.
“If I have any more breaches, I am very concerned.
“It’s for all of them. This is too risky. We just cannot have people deliberately breaching the rules.”
NRL CONFIRMS SCHEDULE SHAKE-UP AS $30M PLAN EMERGES
The NRL has confirmed a revised schedule for Rounds 20 and 21 of the competition as it eyes a possible $30 million extended stay in Queensland.
There will be a triple header in Round 21 at Suncorp Stadium, seeing Brisbane fans treated to three blockbuster games – Warriors vs Sharks, Roosters vs Panthers and Sea Eagles vs Storm.
Meanwhile, last year’s grand finalists the Storm and Panthers will meet at Suncorp next Saturday night with the game moved from AAMI Park.
Mackay, Rockhampton and Redcliffe will also host a combined total of four games as the NRL looks to bring rugby league to regional centres.
“Our challenges with the relocation of the competition have also become opportunities to offer unique fan experiences at mini magic days and it is wonderful for us to be able to take the game into heartland rugby league regions,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“I’d like to thank the Clubs and the broadcasters for their willingness to see these games in Mackay and Rockhampton eventuate.
“The opportunity for a mini magic triple header at Suncorp Stadium, as well as double headers in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast will also continue to maximise opportunities for our supporters in Southeast Queensland to see multiple Clubs and games at one venue.”
It comes as the Daily Telegraphreports that the NRL faces an extended stay in Queensland that could cost the league $30 million.
The NRL initially planned to stay for a month but it looks likely that could last until the end of the season.
The four-week relocation plan was estimated to cost up to $15 million according to the Telegraph, with an extended stint including the grand final representing a $30 million travel-and-accommodation bill.
FAMILIES CONSIDER LEAVING BUBBLE AFTER LATE CHANGE
Meanwhile, some NRL families could leave the Gold Coast bubble in the coming days after tight restrictions were introduced once they arrived.
Channel 9’s Danny Weidler tweeted that one family in the quarantine hub has officially asked the NRL to leave the Gold Coast hotel, with the issue relating to the change in conditions.
It comes as the NRL reported a potential breach of quarantine protocols to Queensland Health after families with balconies were spotted passing marshmallows between floors.
Originally families were informed they would be able to move across floors and other parts of the buildings during meal breaks.
However, they were woken up by the announcement that restrictions had been tightened and they would be confined to their floors.
“The NRL and Accor had assurances that we would be able to move freely within the hotel”, Michelle Taupau, wife of Sea Eagles star Martin Taupau, told SEN 1170.
“We get our key and we are told pretty much that we are allowed 45 minutes break at meal time. So breakfast, lunch and dinner we get to go in a particular group to restaurants to eat and see people and then straight back to our rooms. That then changed.
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“We did that for lunch and dinner and then at about 11 o’clock or midnight it came through we were confined to our rooms. We were told via PA, there was an announcement which woke me up that Level 34 you need to come down to collect your breakfast.
“It was like: ‘Wow, scrambling to read emails and figure what the hell is going on and changed overnight’. That happened yesterday and then they’ve been working on it since.”
It meant food would now be delivered directly to each floor but also that those with children would not have access to microwaves to heat up bottles.
News Corp though reports that the NRL cleaned out a Harvey Norman store in response to provide microwaves for those who need them.
A trip to the shops to buy food and essential supplies was also made.
Taupau’s children did not make the trip to the Gold Coast and while she is positive and committed to staying put she said others are considering moving back to Sydney.
“There are some people now that I think are going to hang in for the next 24-48 hours to see what happens,” she said on Friday morning.
“If things don’t change, maybe a couple would choose to leave. I won’t, I’m committed but there are people with little children I’m pretty confident would go.
“Yesterday in all honesty we had no access to water. There is water in the tap, you can go and drink out of your bathroom tap which I did. There are breastfeeding mothers that need to be hydrated.
“The quality of that sort of stuff and hotel tap water probably doesn’t meet those needs. They weren’t able to heat their babies’ bottles up, there were no microwaves. There were real challenges.
“The challenges in here I don’t think anyone would say they are greater than what anyone else is going through everywhere else in the state, country and world… it is just relative to this situation and what we were told what it would be like to what it actually was.”
Taupau said she was involved in a chat with the NRL over Webex overnight where the league assured it would try to improve conditions.
Regardless, she said all families are grateful for the opportunity to make the trip while clarifying there had been no directives from the NRL to not complain publicly about conditions.
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“There’s been no directive,” she added.
“The language in the emails is obviously to encourage us to stay positive. I had a couple of open and honest conversations yesterday and I was not told I could not talk to people or say anything. I wouldn’t say any directives have been given.
“My heart goes out to anyone in any situation that cannot see their loved ones, even to go down the road and cross an LGA to see family. Speaking for myself and so many of the people up here, we are incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to reunite with our family.
“There is no question this is an opportunity. I am super appreciative and I know everybody is. If anyone does complain it would be what they were told and the conditions they were going to bring their children into is not what this is.”