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Blues camp hit by positive COVID-19 cases

Attendees of a New South Wales Rugby League training camp last weekend have been forced into isolation after two positive COVID-19 cases were recorded across male and female squads.

One positive test stems from the 31-man strong Emerging Blues squad, while the second positive case is linked to the women’s camp that was also held at Sydney’s Olympic Park.

State of Origin stars Nathan Cleary and Tom Trbojevic are believed to have addressed the Emerging Blues players on Saturday and are now expected to isolate.

They were asked to attend in the absence of Blues coach Brad Fittler, who was already in isolation due to an unrelated COVID-19 scare.

Fittler’s assistant coaches Andrew Johns, Greg Alexander, Paul McGregor and recently-retired Blues captain Boyd Cordner were also forced to isolate.

The Emerging Blues camp included Roosters teenager Joseph Suaalii, St George Illawarra trio Junior Amone, Tyrell Sloan and Jayden Sullivan as well as Manly’s Haumole Olakau’atu and Jason Saab.

Amone, Sloan and Sullivan trained with the Dragons on Monday morning, but were sent into isolation later that evening.

A St George Illawarra official confirmed the rest of the squad’s training was unaffected.

Players who formed the women’s Sky Blues and under-19 squads on Sunday were initially deemed casual contacts but have since been directed to isolate due to a positive test among the female group.

“The NSWRL was advised late yesterday of a positive COVID-19 test following a high performance camp at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence on the weekend of 11-12 December,” a NSWRL spokesperson said.

“The test occurred after the camp had concluded. The NSWRL has subsequently been advised of a positive test by a women’s player who also attended the camp.

“The NSWRL is adhering to the strict health and biosecurity protocols from the NRL’s Project Apollo, which includes self-isolating and undergoing COVID-19 tests, in order to ensure safety for player, staff, officials and the wider community.”

The latest COVID-19 scare comes after Wests Tigers cancelled training last week when a club trainer tested positive for coronavirus, while Newcastle on Monday sent players home to await results due to concern they may have been close contacts linked to a growing cluster in the region.

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