Ten Brisbane players are at the centre of another potential bubble breach at the NRL club. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

rugby league

Ten Broncos in latest NRL COVID-19 scare

2020-08-12 16:06:50

Brisbane are declaring their innocence after a pub lunch attended by 10 players intended to celebrate the end of harder lock down measures became the latest biosecurity breach under investigation at the embattled NRL club.

Queensland police and the NRL are looking into the incident, in which 10 players enjoyed a steak on August 1 at the Everton Park Hotel in potential breach of the league’s strict coronavirus protocols.

It follows a separate COVID-19 breach on Saturday by Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Jr that prompted the NRL to propose a $30,000 fine and indefinitely boot him from the NRL’s bubble.

Brisbane great and current trainer Allan Langer is among three staff stood down after attending another private function at the Caxton Hotel.

And coach Anthony Seibold is also in a 14-day COVID-19 hold after attending to a private family matter in Sydney after last weekend’s game.

The Broncos said on Wednesday the group lunched with the understanding they were not breaking protocols under what were relaxed Project Apollo rules at the time.

They had gathered to mark the end of their 14-day hard lockdown following a 48-0 mauling against West Tigers in Sydney on July 17.

Rules allowed players in Queensland teams, when they haven’t played in Sydney in the past 14 days, to dine at cafes and restaurants, but not attend pubs.

However, restaurants within pubs were okayed, as long as players remain within that area and seated at a table with their own group.

“The players were of the understanding that lunch at the hotel was permissible under the more-relaxed restrictions which they were under at the time,” the Broncos statement read.

“The club has been working closely with the NRL and provided a range of information as requested, and is awaiting a determination.”

Queensland Police deputy commissioner Steve Gollschewski confirmed on Wednesday that investigations into the Broncos’ pub visit were continuing.

But he said it would fall back onto Queensland Health to determine if the players had broken any protocols specific to the NRL bubble.

It comes as six Hull FC players as well as two coaches tested positive for coronavirus in England, while their most recent opposition Salford are awaiting their test results.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson says Super League cases show just how important the NRL guidelines are to keep the competition running, given Super League is proceeding without any kind of “bubble”.

“The protocols are really harsh, really tough at times on the group of players and staff, they’re really restrictive but we have to adhere to them to keep playing,” Robinson said.

“Whilst you don’t always agree with them you have to stick to them.

“We need to finish this competition financially for players, staff and everybody who works in the office … we have to do it.”