Police are investigating a possible breach of Covid-19 restrictions as the Brisbane Broncos’ season from hell gets worse.
The Courier Mail reported up to 10 Brisbane players are under the microscope for socialising at a pub earlier this month.
The publication’s rugby league writer Pete Badel reported on Twitter the NRL is “investigating (a) potential Covid breach by 10 Broncos players as Queensland police launch separate probe”.
The possible breach, which took place at the Everton Park Hotel, comes to light shortly after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young warned NRL players more biosecurity breaches would put the season at risk.
The Broncos said in a statement that they are aware of the alleged breach and that it had been reported to both Queensland Police and the NRL’s Project Apollo.
“The club has spoken at length to the players involved, who attended the hotel for lunch on Saturday, August 1 – the same day that players and staff inside the club’s “Covid bubble” had transitioned back into more-relaxed Project Apollo Queensland restrictions,” the Broncos said.
“The team had played Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium the night before, which marked the end of a 14-day hard lockdown put in place after the team travelled to Sydney for the Round 10 game against the West Tigers on July 17.
“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 club has been working closely with the NRL and provided a range of information as requested, and is awaiting a determination.”
Last week South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett and Dragons prop Paul Vaughan were fined $20,000 and $10,000 respectively for leaving their teams’ “bubbles” to dine out at a restaurant and a cafe.
Broncos trainer and club legend Allan Langer was also fined along with two other Brisbane staffers for drinking in a pub, while the Newcastle Knights self-reported after becoming aware Starford To’a and Simi Sasagi had broken their bubble.
Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Jr is reportedly going to be sacked after he went to a barber shop opening and mingled with friends on the weekend.
“The Deputy Premier and Chief Health Officer are in constant contact with the NRL,” Palaszczuk said on Monday.
“I will be reminding the NRL the future of the season is in their hands. Everyone has to do the right thing.
“Nothing is more important than protecting the health of Queenslanders.”
Dr Young echoed Palaszczuk’s sentiments and also took a crack at some players for failing to understand the importance of following the rules.
“That will be up to the NRL to sort through but yes, there have been a number of breaches that potentially do put the season at risk,” she said.
“I’m satisfied management is dealing with this very, very seriously. I’m not satisfied the players understand the seriousness.”
The NRL has exemptions for interstate teams to travel to and from Queensland on game day during the coronavirus pandemic, but further breaches may see these special privileges revoked.