The Bulldogs have been forced back into a strict bio-security bubble as the Brisbane COVID-19 outbreak grips the NRL.
Bulldogs players and staff have been forced back into a COVID-19 ‘bubble’ for the rest of this week following their weekend match in Brisbane.
The 21-man playing squad and coaching staff that travelled to Suncorp Stadium last week will only be allowed to train and leave their homes for essential reasons from today.
It’s the same set of restrictions that all NRL players had to operate throughout the 2020 season following the COVID-enforced break in the competition when the pandemic first took hold.
The Bulldogs host the Rabbitohs in their traditional Good Friday clash at Stadium Australia on Friday.
All players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 after Thursday’s captain’s run as the NRL continues to respond to the latest outbreak in Brisbane.
While Bulldogs are copping the extreme end of the NRL’s bubble conditions, restrictions have tightened for all 16 clubs as of today.
The NRL has enacted its level two protocols across the competition, with players and club staff now banned from using public transport, required to wear masks indoors and undergoing temperature testing at training.
The Broncos have already relocated to Sydney to beat Brisbane’s three-day lockdown which came into effect on Monday evening and the venue of their Good Friday clash with the Storm is under a cloud after the Victorian government classified Greater Brisbane as a red zone. It is possible that the Storm-Broncos clash will be shifted to Sydney’s Stadium Australia as a result, creating an unexpected public holiday double-header.
Storm front-rower Christian Welch said the club was still hopeful it would host the Round Four clash as planned, but won’t have any issues if a Sydney switch is required.
“We understand that at the end of the day we’re a game of rugby league and there’s higher priorities in the community like health and safety of people so we’re more than happy to go to Sydney if we have to,” Welch said today.
“Our preference certainly is to play at AAMI Park in front of all of our home fans.
“I don’t think anyone has any dramas in adapting to a change in plans; it can happen pretty quick but that’s just the COVID world we live in.”
Elsewhere, Cronulla and North Queensland are considering game-day charter flights to avoid travelling through Brisbane for their Saturday clash on the Sunshine Coast.
The Gold Coast-Canberra match afterwards is at this stage also unaffected by the snap Brisbane lockdown.
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