Australia

NRL players and families arrive in Queensland despite hotel quarantine pause

The NRL has confirmed a charter flight with about 100 people, including league officials, wives, girlfriends and children of players, has arrived in Queensland from Sydney — but says it does not know where the cohort is staying.

All of them have been required to enter hotel quarantine for 14 days, despite the Queensland government pausing hotel quarantine for hot spot arrivals for two weeks.

A spokesman for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the people who were on the NRL charter flight have not gone into the state government’s hotel quarantine program.

He said other hotels outside of the program were able to be booked out in their entirety by organisations to be used for the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

An NRL official told the ABC this morning that the families were staying in a Brisbane hotel but was unaware of which hotel they were staying.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told ABC Radio Brisbane he was aware of the new arrivals and the hotel the cohort was going into was “not part” of the state’s hotel quarantine system.

“When it comes to things like the NRL bubble, or even indeed the Afghans that were relocating at the moment — they are operated outside of the Queensland government hotel quarantine arrangement, so not part of our system,” he said.

“The only role that police have is processing people at the airport and then they go into the self-funded, self-regulated arrangements.”

The Deputy Commissioner said the NRL and AFL have been “particularly good” at ensuring tight security arrangements in the past.

“They have to satisfy Dr Young that they can do that [provide tight security measures],” he said.

He said he could understand people’s frustrations with the NRL being allowed in.

“This is such a difficult time for all of our community, we understand that,” he said.

In July, Wests Tigers centre James Roberts was fined $7,500 and banned for one game for failing to comply with a Queensland public health directive.

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.

Cricket teams also arrive

Meanwhile, cricket players taking part in a seven-match multi-format home series next month between Australia’s women and India have begun to arrive in Queensland.

Australian cricket players based in NSW and Victoria, as well as the Indian team, also commenced a two-week quarantine period in Brisbane this week, according to Cricket Australia, with the remainder of the Australian squad to assemble closer to the start of the series.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation across the country and it is clear that the current COVID challenges prevent the original schedule from proceeding as initially planned,” CA chief executive Nick Hockley said.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Queensland government for agreeing to quarantine the Australian and Indian players and enabling this important series to be played in Queensland.

“We are also delighted to be bringing our world champion women’s team to Mackay and regional Queensland.”

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