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As 480 NRL players and staff departed Sydney on Wednesday, the Queensland government has warned anyone who is caught breaking the bubble over the next 14 days will be immediately deported from the state.
As it grows increasingly likely that the Queensland bubble will be extended beyond a month, momentum is gathering for Brisbane to host the grand final for the first time on October 3.
However it could be missing the stars of the game if they don't follow the rules, with NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo informing all 16 clubs of premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's non-negotiable stance on biosecurity breaches.
The NRL has been left red-faced in recent weeks, by the Dragons house party and Jai Arrow’s Origin hotel room scandals, and can’t afford another black eye as 12 NRL clubs landed on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast for day one of operation relocation.
While clubs have been told they will live abroad for at least a month, most teams are preparing to finish the season north of the border. It's why any breaches over the next 14 days could prohibit banished players from taking any further part in the 2021 season.
"We are guests in that state," ARLC chairman Peter V'landys told the Herald on Wednesday as the NRL players left their families behind.
Corey Norman joins Dragons players on their flight to Queensland on Wednesday.Credit:Brook Mitchell
"As a guest you have to be responsible and courteous. Accordingly if you breach the guest rules and regulations you will be sent home.
"That is basically repeating what the premier of Queensland said, and that is that she will request that any player who breaks the rules will be sent home immediately."
Last year the AFL had a similar issue with Richmond Tigers pair Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones.
The pair were sent home from Queensland and banned for 10 matches for breaching the league’s COVID-19 protocols following a fight outside a strip club on the Gold Coast.
They were detained and later released by police. They breached protocols by taking Ubers and attending a strip club.
Richmond was fined $100,000, with the two players responsible for paying $75,000 of the total fine.
“We don’t be expected to be treated any different to the AFL when two players got sent home for breaching COVID-19 protocols,” V’landys said.
The NRL has organised for families to enter Queensland on Saturday. They will quarantine in a separate Gold Coast hotel for 14 days before linking with the teams in the respective Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast bubbles.
Manly coach Des Hasler addressed the media before flying out with his team on Wednesday. He believes the key to having success in a bubble environment will come down to the strength of each team's leaders.
Manly are well placed with Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans and NSW duo Tom and Jake Trbojevic at their disposal.
“You need that [leadership], that’s an expectation. And you will find that players will step up into the roles,” Hasler said. “I think it’s the experience too. Most squads have a range of experience across their roster and no doubt they will lean on that.”
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