Queensland forward Jai Arrow has been banned from next Wednesday night’s State of Origin series finale after breaching the NRL’s COVID-19 biosecurity protocols.
- The NRL alleges Arrow “allowed an unregistered guest” into the Maroons’ team hotel
- Arrow has since been isolated from the Maroons squad and will leave the team camp to commence 14 days home isolation
- The sanction follows the punishment handed to St George Illawarra players for breaching protocols
Arrow has been issued with a breach notice, which also includes a $35,000 fine, with the NRL alleging he “allowed an unregistered guest” into the Maroons’ team hotel on the Gold Coast.
The State of Origin ban is part of a two-match suspension.
Arrow has been isolated from the squad and will leave the camp today to commence 14 days of home isolation.
“I know I have let a lot of people down, including my teammates, coaching staff and fans right across the rugby league community,” Arrow said in a Queensland Rugby League statement.
The Maroons camp will continue on the Gold Coast and additional 24-hour security has been provided to the team hotel.
The NRL said it “notified Queensland Health as soon as it was made aware of the breach”.
“In our view, this is a clear breach of our biosecurity protocols,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a league statement.
“Jai has been placed into isolation from the squad and will return home to Sydney.
“There are no excuses for breaching the protocols, they are our licence to continue playing — players have to comply, or we will all face the consequences.
Arrow has five working days to respond to the breach notice, with the NRL saying it would “offer him wellbeing support”.
His suspension will include South Sydney’s round-18 NRL match against Canterbury.
The NRL’s decision follows the sanctions it handed out to St George Illawarra players for breaching the league’s biosecurity guidelines by attending a party hosted by Dragons forward Paul Vaughan last weekend.
Thirteen Dragons players, including Vaughan, were fined a combined $305,000 by the NRL.
The Dragons took further action by terminating Vaughan’s contract earlier this week.
State of Origin III will be played in Newcastle after the match was moved from Stadium Australia because of the Greater Sydney lockdown.
New South Wales has already won the series after claiming a 2-0 lead with its win in Origin II in Brisbane.