SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg speaks to the media during an NRL press conference at NRL headquarters on March 24, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg speaks to the media during an NRL press conference at NRL headquarters on March 24, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

With everything on the line, NRL players get it right

Aware any isolation breaches could prevent them from being paid, NRL players have pushed aside their bad-boy image to become off-field angels.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal not a single player from any club has been issued a breach notice, fined or reprimanded for breaking NRL self-isolation rules over the past three weeks.

The NRL's integrity unit has not received one complaint about players flouting the directive.

 

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Any player contracting coronavirus would jeopardise the recommencement date for this season, while an abandoned competition would mean players don't get paid.

"They know if they slip up then the competition's return is jeopardised," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said.

The NRL announced on March 19 that all 480 players had been placed on notice to behave or face the possibility of a cancelled premiership if a player became infected.

Players have since abided by social distancing laws and avoided interaction with friends and fans or been involved in public gatherings at parks, beaches or shopping centres.

No players have been caught driving long distances against Government warnings and not a single footballer has been sprung breaking any rules on phone cameras or social media.

"Lots of habits may change for the better when we come out of this, and maybe that can be one of them," Raiders CEO Don Furner said.

Some players are even wearing face masks.

 

Manly star Addin Fonua-Blake wore a face mask when addressing the media. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Manly star Addin Fonua-Blake wore a face mask when addressing the media. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

 

Closed pubs, bars and restaurants have taken away several possible distractions for players.

Desperate for the players to continue behaving, Greenberg said: "I want to commend our players for the professionalism they have shown right from the start of this pandemic and I encourage them to continue showing the same professionalism in the weeks ahead.

"Our players know they need to remain healthy in order for our competition to recommence. We issued a strong set of guidelines when the competition was suspended and so far the players are complying with those guidelines.

"The game thanks them for the professionalism they are showing and we encourage them to continue complying with restrictions, not only for the good of our game, but for the good of our society. There is a long way to go, but so far our players deserve a tick."

Clubs chief executives have also stepped forward to praise players during the pandemic.

"From the moment we bought all the players in and spoke to them about the suspension of the competition and the expectations that we as a club had on them, it was clear that they were all focused on spending the time away from the club and each other productively and proactively," Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said.

"The group of players we have here at the Wests Tigers are really close with each other and thus they continually drive their own behaviours and standards, which is really pleasing."

Manly CEO Stephen Humphreys added: "All of our players and staff have been absolutely brilliant. They deserve high praise for the positive way they have responded to their world being tipped on its head.

"Despite their obvious concerns and anxieties, they all quickly accepted the reality of the situation we find ourselves in. They have adapted to the new normal and have shown an exemplary mix of professionalism and pragmatism.

"We all have each other's back and that gives everyone at the Sea Eagles a great sense of security and unity."

Panthers Group CEO Brian Fletcher also backed his players.

"The players are treating their time as if they have to be ready to play when and where required,'' Fletcher said.

"They all have programs from the strength and conditioning staff and are in daily contact with all three coaches - Ivan Cleary, Cameron Ciraldo and Trent Barrett - to report on their fitness."

 

 

Originally published as With everything on the line, NRL players get it right


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