Wests Tigers player James Roberts fined, banned for one game after COVID breach

Wests Tigers centre James Roberts has been fined $7,500 and banned for one game for failing to comply with a Queensland public health directive, the NRL says.

Roberts breached the biosecurity restrictions in place for players in south-east Queensland by going onto the balcony of his hotel room on the Gold Coast.

The NRL handed the 28-year-old the breach notice, with the ban to begin when he is eligible for selection.

Roberts must also complete education and training programs.

The NRL said in determining the sanction, it had “taken into account the difficulties Roberts has had in coping with quarantine”.

Roberts has been provided with additional wellbeing support.

He has five days to respond to the breach notice.

The Tigers issued a statement on Tuesday to announce the NRL had reported the incident involving Roberts breaching biosecurity protocols to Queensland Health.

Young ‘very concerned’ about NRL breaches

The NRL relocated to Queensland as the NSW COVID-19 outbreak took hold.

It has been granted exemptions to continue the competition north of the border based on assurances players and staff follow strict protocols agreed to by the government.

Last week, footage emerged showing NRL families quarantining in Queensland hotels passing food to each other on balconies, breaching government protocols.

When asked last Friday at what point the NRL’s exemptions could be revoked, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said: “I’m getting very close to it.”

“Yes, I’m very, very concerned about what is happening with these NRL players,” she said.

“You would have seen that imagery of the family hotel where they were sharing goods between verandahs.

“If I have any more breaches, I am very concerned.

“It’s for all of them. This is too risky. We just cannot have people deliberately breaching the rules.”

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