Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold says the NRL can’t bow to the minority and force Queensland’s teams to play in NSW because of the strict no jab, no play policy being enforced by the Sunshine State’s government.
The NRL is due to restart in two weeks but the draw is yet to be released, with the refusal by a handful of players to take the flu shot proving an extra hurdle.
Seibold said it would be unfair to shift an entire competition around a minority.
NRL players in states other than Queensland have signed a waiver that allows them to train and play without having the flu shot.
But, in a claim substantiated by home affairs minister Peter Dutton on Thursday, the Queensland chief health officer maintained it had never approved of the waiver option and that professional athletes must have the shot to train or play north of the Tweed.
Gold Coast’s Brian Kelly received his shot on Thursday, leaving teammate Bryce Cartwright, Canberra trio Josh Papalii, Joe Tapine and Sia Soliola, Manly’s Dylan Walker and Addin Fonua-Blake and Canterbury’s Sione Katoa as those who would be impacted by the policy.
While Seibold said he had no issues with their individual decisions, he said the NRL shouldn’t feel obliged to accommodate them by removing Queensland from its scheduling.
“If we’re going to cater for the minority then we’re kidding ourselves really,” he said.
“If we’re having to go to Sydney because seven players from a couple of teams haven’t got the jab, I think that’d be quite unfair.
“It’s like going to the pub; you don’t like paying $10 for a schooner, do you?
“But if you want company and connection with mates and to put a bet on and listen to the music you pay $10 at the pub.
“Otherwise you can pay $2.50 and drink Hahn Super Drys at home.
“If you want to play footy get the jab, if you don’t want to play footy stay at home.”
Seibold has been impressed with his squad’s fitness, asserting that they would be ready to play if asked next week.
But he said the lack of an NRL draw was problematic because he liked to give players clarity on when they would be training.
“I’m patient to the fact it’s a bizarre time, but I do like clarity and the sooner we get the draw the better,” he said.