Bulldogs trio in hot water with NRL over COVID directive breach

A trio of Canterbury players could find themselves in hot water with the NRL after being ordered to self-isolate for attending an exposure site in Bondi’s COVID cluster.

The NRL revealed late on Thursday that former Queensland State of Origin player Dylan Napa, half Brandon Wakeham and youngster Aaron Schoupp will have to undertake an immediate COVID test and self-isolate.

The trio were found to have visited The Royal Hotel in Bondi on June 20, a venue where a person who has tested positive for the virus was known to have attended.

That appears to be in contravention of a directive issued by the NRL on June 17 to all Sydney-based clubs mandating that players and staff were not to attend any restaurants, clubs or bars in the Waverley Local Government area.

As well as the three players being ordered into isolation, the remainder of the Bulldogs squad will be unable to train until the test results are known.

The NRL said none of the three was known to have been in contact with any Origin players ahead of Sunday’s game two in Brisbane, nor were they believed to have been in contact with representatives of any other club.

The ongoing outbreak in Sydney has resulted in all clubs in the Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Central Coast areas being placed on level-three biosecurity restrictions, effectively returning them to last year’s bubble.

The news came just hours after the Sydney Roosters’ clash with Melbourne became the first NRL match moved as a result of the COVID outbreak.

Next Thursday’s clash will now be played in Newcastle rather than the SCG, while other clubs begin planning for further ramifications.

The Bulldogs, Warriors, Penrith and Wests Tigers also have home games in Sydney next week, but none are yet eyeing moves, with reduced crowd capacities a likely outcome.


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