Rugby league: Warriors hit hard as ‘about two thirds’ of squad test positive for Covid-19 in Queensland in recent weeks

Rugby league: Warriors hit hard as ‘about two thirds’ of squad test positive for Covid-19 in Queensland in recent weeks

January 13, 2022

The Warriors have been hit hard by the recent Covid-19 outbreak in Australia, with coach Nathan Brown estimating “around two thirds” of the Redcliffe-based squad have tested positive over the last few weeks.

It’s a staggering figure, but reflective of the current situation in Queensland, with 15,000 new cases recorded on Thursday.

Most of the Warriors players have recovered and are back in training, though some are still practising in smaller groups. Three players remain in isolation.

Brown admitted it has been challenging, with the first NRL trial less than six weeks away.

“All clubs are going through the same – just getting your blokes active again,” said Brown.

“Some blokes have been seven to 10 days in isolation where they can’t do anything. So it’s getting them moving again and going back over the drills. Whether it be conditioning, fitness….whatever it may be, just getting them back to where they were before the break.”

The Warriors were relatively untouched by Covid-19 infections last season but that’s changed now, with a lot of disruption since the Christmas break.

“It’s been very varied,” said Brown, when asked about the timeframe. “It can change by the day. But we would have had two thirds of the squad that have had it already.”

Symptoms have been mixed in their severity.

“Some players really get knocked around and [others] don’t have too many troubles at all,” said Brown. “Each case treated on its merits.”

The club is taking as many precautions as possible and each player needs to pass a rapid-antigen test before they can enter the facility each day.

“The NRL has got a lot of protocols in place there, [so] sticking to those protocols and being reasonably sensible, that’s all we can ask,” said Brown.

“It’s something that it sounds like we’re all going to have a bout of at some stage so as long as we are doing our best to be sensible.”

Brown also sees a silver lining to the current scenario, rather than it happening later in the year, during the season.

“We are probably quite fortunate in a way that we’ve had a huge chunk of blokes that have already had it and are coming out of it already,” said Brown. “We are hopeful that next week when most of our squat have had Covid and recovered that we can really pick up where we left off.”

Utility Kodi Nikorima said it has been a challenging time.

“We have protocols in place for players and staff and the NRL and the Warriors have done a pretty good job,” said Nikorima

“It’s obviously pretty scary with Covid going around, but I feel like everyone has sort of accepted it now.”

“During trainings, there’ll be a group who have been affected by Covid who would do less reps than us and then finish earlier, obviously they’ve got to build their way back in. Hopefully next week, there’ll be none of that and we’ll hit the ground running.”

Brown added that the club doesn’t expect to have any issues with unvaccinated players.

“As far as we’re aware pretty much everyone in the full squad is either fully vaxxed or got one more shot to go, which is coming shortly,” said Brown

“We haven’t got any players that we need to worry about in that area.” “Whether that changes down the track with new additions or younger players I’m not too sure but we can deal with that as it comes. But we’re in a good spot there as it stands.”

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