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NRL bubble at risk after NSW players, families get Qld authorities offside

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NSW State of Origin player Api Koroisau’s alleged biosecurity breach has placed the NRL competition in immediate danger with Queensland’s chief medical officer Jeannette Young warning she is getting close to revoking exemptions.

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The delicate relationship between the Queensland government and the NRL has taken a further hit following claims Koroisau breached a strict biosecurity bubble while in NSW Origin camp, which is now under investigation.

It follows vision of NRL families quarantining in Queensland hotels passing food to each other on balconies, breaching government protocols that were enacted late on Wednesday night.

The NRL has been granted exemptions to continue the competition in Queensland based on assurances players and staff follow strict protocols agreed to by the government.

Asked on Friday at what point the NRL’s exemptions could be revoked, Young said: “I’m getting very close to it.

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

The warning comes after the NRL was blindsided on Thursday night by a Daily Mail report claiming Koroisau twice snuck a woman into NSW Origin camp.

An integrity unit investigation was immediately launched after the NSWRL made the authority aware of the allegations.

It’s claimed the NSW and Penrith hooker snuck a woman into the Blues’ biosecurity bubble the day before the team left for Kingscliff to escape the growing COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

He is then alleged to have met the woman again on the day of Origin II in Brisbane when the players were in a strict biosecurity bubble.

Koroisau was 18th man in the first two games of the series before making his Origin debut in game three.

Already the NRL has handed down harsh penalties for biosecurity breaches, including a two-game ban to Jai Arrow who breached the Queensland Origin bubble in game three.

The NRL also handed down suspensions and fines worth $305,000 to St George Illawarra players after a now infamous barbecue at Paul Vaughan’s home.

“We’ve proven that anyone who breaches the protocols puts the competition at risk and puts the income of all their fellow players at risk, and they will be penalised,” said ARLC chairman Peter V’landys on 2GB on Friday.

“We certainly penalised the St George team and Jai Arrow and he’ll be no different if these allegations are proven.”

The Panthers are preparing to face Brisbane on Saturday with the club now waiting for advice from the NRL on whether Koroisau is able to play.

Coach Ivan Cleary said he had spoken with Koroisau but wouldn’t comment further until the investigation was complete.

However, he said the club was supporting Koroisau’s wife Amy.

“I don’t feel like it’s appropriate to talk about,” Cleary said.

“I’m certainly not going to discuss anything publicly, people will have their own opinions there.

“As a club we’ll come out with our own statement once the NRL has finished their investigations.

“What I will say is we’re doing everything we possibly can to support Amy at this time.”

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