South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett says he can't guarantee his NRL players will self-isolate. Image by (AAP Image/Darren England)

rugby league

Bennett won’t police NRL isolation policy

2020-03-21 18:04:14

While NRL coaches have put on a united front backing a self-isolation policy for players amid the coronavirus pandemic, South Sydney mentor Wayne Bennett says he can’t guarantee his players will follow the measures.

Coaches have thrown their support behind introducing radical safety measures that are still being finalised by the NRL and union officials in a bid to protect the players and keep the competition running.

It is believed players are expected to be told to avoid venues where they can come into contact with the public like pubs, restaurants and shopping centres.

“Our coaches are completely respectful of the requirements and directives to keep the game moving and our coaches are keen to continue to lead and support with other key leaders in clubs,” Rugby League Coaches Association CEO Kelly Egan said in a statement on Saturday.

However, Bennett admitted he was not sure how the measures on players could be policed.

“I’m not so sure about the self-isolation, in terms of we have to go shopping, we have to go to shops … it’s probably not the right word to use, isolation,” Bennett said after the Rabbitohs’ 22-18 round two loss to Brisbane.

“If I’ve got to go to the shops tomorrow and buy something I’m going to go, that’s what’s going to happen.

“They are young men, and if they (meet up with) a mate or something they might think that’s not too bad but I’m not going to be the policeman on it.

“They’ve been told what the ramifications are. I don’t know if sitting home all weekend, I don’t know if they’ll do that, I couldn’t guarantee you that.”

However, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was confident players would do the right thing in order to keep the NRL running for as long as they can amid the pandemic.

“They (players) know how important it is to the game, we commend the NRL for the stance they have taken,” he said.

“And we have to play our part which is just not on the field but it is also doing as much as we can to isolate ourselves for the safety of everyone but also to continue for the game to run.

“We understand the importance of not only what we can do on the field but taking it (pandemic threat) serious to keep everyone rolling along.

“At the end of the day we get the opportunity to still continue to do what we love. For a lot of people that has been taken away – we are the lucky ones.”