The NRL is scrambling to ensure two games go ahead next weekend with a COVID-19 cloud now over North Queensland’s travel arrangements into the Sunshine Coast.
The Cowboys are due to face Cronulla at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday, but the NRL is investigating whether a chartered flight directly from Townsville to the Sunshine Coast will be needed to avoid landing in Brisbane.
This would be a worst-case scenario for the NRL, with full PPE also another option for the Cowboys if they travel through Brisbane to the match.
The Sharks are due to fly to the Sunshine Coast on Thursday before Saturday’s game to do community visits, although they are now also in doubt.
— NRL (@NRL) March 28, 2021
It comes as Brisbane recorded three new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, including a new case of community transmission related to a man who tested positive on Thursday.
Already, the NRL is working to ensure Melbourne’s Good Friday clash with Brisbane goes ahead as planned in Melbourne after Victoria declared Brisbane a COVID-19 hotspot on Friday night.
Border restrictions apply for people coming to Victoria from Brisbane, forcing visitors to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
The Broncos will travel to Melbourne via private charter on Tuesday, so they can be tested and have their captain’s run at AAMI Park on Thursday.
The team will then return to Brisbane straight after their game.
✅ Fans kicked out of the ground
✅ Charter flights being organised
✅ Fixtures in doubt
What's next for sport in Queensland after the latest COVID-19 scare?🤔
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) March 27, 2021
Broncos players have essentially been placed into a bubble following Saturday’s win over Canterbury and have been asked not to leave home before they travel to Melbourne.
It’s an unwelcome reminder of last year’s harsh bubble restrictions for Broncos players but fullback Jamayne Isaako is willing to do whatever it takes to keep playing.
“We want the game to keep going on, so it’s something we have to follow and abide by,” he said.
“With young kids it’ll certainly be tough … I haven’t heard much about the (return of) the COVID bubble yet but we’ll do what we have to do.”