Some of the NRL’s biggest names have queried the tight restrictions imposed as COVID-19 cases hit clubs on the eve of their return to pre-season training.
Brisbane on Tuesday confirmed four players had COVID-19, while Canterbury are also managing positive cases ahead of the team’s return to the paddock on Thursday.
Australia’s cricket, soccer and basketball codes are scrambling to administer their summer seasons while mounting cases in the NBA have caused unprecedented scenes.
In an effort to curb the spread among NRL players ahead of the 2022 season, players will be tested daily, banned from indoor venues like pubs and cinemas and have restrictions placed on gatherings at home.
The protocols are the result of a concerted effort to ensure the show goes on after two years of disruptions, bubbles and shutdowns, but until now there has not been any positive cases.
The Broncos confirmed all four players were asymptomatic but with mounting case numbers in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, more cases across the competition appear inevitable as the NRL inches towards a restart.
That hasn’t stopped some of the code’s biggest names from questioning the restrictions they’ll be placed under.
NSW Origin quartet Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr, Jack Wighton and Jarome Luai all expressed their dissatisfaction on Instagram.
“WTF? Double vaxxed to just stay the same?,” Mitchell wrote in a sentiment echoed by his Blues teammates.
Australian COVID-19 cases soared to a pandemic record on Tuesday as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country.
The country clocked 47,799 new infections, up nearly a third on Monday’s number which was also a record.
Cases have been rampant through the Big Bash League, forcing the competition into drastic fixture changes while the A-Leagues and NBL have also been heavily impacted.
In the United States most NBA clubs have long lists of players and staff unavailable due to health and safety protocols, forcing the postponement of more than 10 games last month.