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Clubs to face issues with unvaccinated players on eve of pre-season


Several NRL clubs are set to face some hurdles in the coming weeks as they return for pre-season training.

With the competition refusing to mandate COVID vaccinations, it is expected that there will be several players league-wide that opt not to take the jab.

With that in mind, and with clubs that finished outside of the finals set to return to train next week, The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio is expecting some franchises to be looking at legal avenues regarding unvaccinated player contracts.

“We’ve just gone through, and the first clubs return to pre-season training next week,” Riccio said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“Largely how that works is the bottom eight teams, who didn’t play finals, they’re usually the first ones to go back and that is the case.

“What these clubs are finding out first is what they do with their unvaccinated players.

“Certainly, the Bulldogs are in this category … there are categories within all these clubs that one, do we have legal background or advice that would allow us to terminate a player’s contract if it got to that point where simply the player couldn’t train anymore.”

Riccio says that under NSW Health orders, some players won’t be permitted to train with their teammates, which will be another issue that clubs may be forced to work around if their contracts can’t be torn up.

“Secondly, is do we provide home training routines for the player because they can’t come to training?” Riccio asked.

“Under NSW Health orders, if your team or club trains within a stadium precinct, an unvaccinated person, let alone a player, cannot enter that facility.

“That’s going to cause major issues for clubs with unvaccinated players.”

The Tigers will be able to train with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated players due to their base at St Luke’s Park, a private field in Concord.

Bulldogs, Sharks and Dragons players will need to be double jabbed to enter their facilities for the start of the pre-season as they are housed in a stadium.

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