Experts warn NRL players more susceptible to COVID-19 at beginning of season, as clubs begin to limit travel


“The thought generally is that they have trained so hard, they’re essentially a bit worn out in terms of immunity and reduced in terms of their normal immune response and this makes them susceptible,” McMillian said.

NRL boss Todd Greenberg spoke out on Monday about the league looking to “tighten” contact with the general public, as concerns about a player potential contracting the disease continue to grow.

The Storm hired their own charter jet to Sydney and back for their match against Manly in Brookvale, with Souths planning to take a same-day trip up to Brisbane for their clash against the Broncos on Saturday.

The Raiders are also considering a chartered flight to Gold Coast to face the Warriors, as discussions continue to circulate about whether a COVID-19 diagnosis within the game would end the season.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in response to Peter V’landys’ plea that “the NRL is not high on the list” of funding priorities for the government.Credit:AAP

The Roosters announced on Monday the relocation of their round-two clash against Manly to Leichhardt Oval as a result to avoid the trip up to Central Coast Stadium.

“We feel that minimising travel for all parties is an important precaution,” Roosters chief operating officer Jarrod Johnstone said.

The club also required journalists to stay a minimum two metres away from players during interviews this week.

South Sydney announced on Monday that they were cancelling all public appearances with players until further notice, and training sessions will be closed to the media. Both the Rabbitohs and Parramatta are set to address the media via teleconference on Tuesday.

The moves were commended by Dr West, who encouraged clubs to limit travel and social interaction.

“Certainly, in this period, when we’re talking about increasing social isolation….it kind of goes against the grain of you having people travelling from one spot to another,” Dr West.

The NRL is expected to go ahead for round two behind closed doors, with the ARLC expected to reevaluate the situation ahead of round three.

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University of Melbourne infectious disease epidemiologist Dr Kathryn Snow said it was a “cause for concern” that any contact sport was going ahead in the current climate.

“With this virus, we don’t have all of the research yet, so we should all be playing it pretty safe,” Dr Snow. “I’ve been telling people we want to be erring on the side of caution, and I don’t know if playing a contact sport is erring on the side of caution.”

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