No golfing, no surfing: NRL’s tough stance
Players will be scrambling to have one last hit or a final wave with golf and surfing to be banned under sweeping biosecurity changes from Monday.
Players will learn of the drastic measures when they front-up for a biosecurity lesson on Monday - delivered by the club's independent "COVID cop".
It is part of widespread measures the game will put in place for anyone on a club's 50-person register. Other measures include: a taxi and ride-shares ban, no car pooling with teammates and no workouts in public parks.
NRL biosecurity expert Associate professor David Heslop said the measures are needed to ensure player and community safety come Monday.
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"The NRL is taking a precautionary approach to reducing the likelihood of contact between players and between groups of players and the general public," Heslop said. "This is an essential part of the NRL risk management framework for COVID-19.
"Some restrictions that might seem inconvenient or uncomfortable have been identified as necessary to minimise contacts. This particularly includes discretionary activities like recreational activities such as golf or surfing.
"Essential or necessary household or daily living tasks such as walking the dog, shopping or other similar activities are recognised as acceptable activities within the risk management framework.
"Ultimately this is about reducing risks and ensuring the safety of players, staff and the wider community, particularly where we have yet to fully suppress COVID-19 in Australia."
As of Friday, the NSW government has relaxed some social distancing measures allowing two people to visit a person's house. The NRL is still deciding if players and officials can visit, or host visitors, in their homes.
"In relation to the recent relaxation in NSW to acceptable numbers for gatherings, the impact of this change on the overall risk management strategy is currently being reviewed," Heslop said.
CLUBS are doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things in their WhatsApp groups to try and pass the time.
The Dragons last Friday asked their players and staff to find a photo of their playing days which really means the most to them.
Premiership winner turned assistant coach Dean Young chose a shot of himself standing alongside his teammates in the lead-up to an Anzac Day match a few years ago.
WITH NSWRL plans to recommence its Ron Massey Cup season in July, expect some NRL clubs to align themselves with what is the third-tier over-aged competition in NSW.
While they are unlikely to place their NRL-contracted players in teams, clubs could allow some of their development or young players to feature in a game or two to allow them some much needed match practice.
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ON BAN WAGON
WHILE Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor await a date from the NRL about when their appeals will be heard, it hasn't stopped a club from sounding out one of the former Bulldogs.
We have learnt one team from outside of Sydney has made a play for Harawira-Naera. Unless the pair successfully appeal their bans, they are unlikely to have their contracts registered by the NRL this year.
Originally published as No golfing, no surfing: NRL's tough stance