Nelson Asofa-Solomona, unvaccinated, Melbourne Storm, Covid-19 protocols, Peter V’landys, Andrew Abdo



Storm enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona could become the first NRL player stood down for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccination.The Sydney Morning Herald reported Asofa-Solomona has informed the Storm that he does not want to receive the vaccination, despite Victorian health orders preventing professional athletes from entering their team’s facility while unvaccinated. Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!!Storm CEO Justin Rodski revealed on Friday that Asofa-Solomona has a fortnight to get the first vaccine to ensure he’s fully vaccinated before he’s due back for pre-season training.“It’s obviously a pretty complicated issue and there’s no textbook for this,” he told SEN.“We haven’t been through this before as an industry and or even as a society.“There’s a whole range of complexities that sit around this.“At this stage, he’s got about two weeks to consider whether or not to get vaccinated. The return date for our senior players is December 7, so there’s still a little bit of time.“From a personal point of view, there’s a whole range of factors and considerations that players, staff and anyone who is deemed an authorised worker in Victoria needs to consider. “Because the state government’s health orders have deemed that all authorised workers need to double vaccinated.”Rodski acknowledged that if Asofa-Solomona decides not to get vaccinated it will have “significant implications” on both the club and player.“That precludes him from entering the venue, it precludes anyone for that matter. It doesn’t matter if your staff, a coach, a player, a courier dropping something off, it doesn’t matter,” he said.“We’ve been in contact with all of our players and provided them with all of the health advice that they need.“From here it’s just going to be a matter of understanding what the final position is and then working through it from there. “Right now as it stands we don’t have to make that decision but clearly there could be implications for the club if we do have an unvaccinated player because they won’t be able to train, therefore won’t be able to fulfil their contract, which clearly has significant implications on our club and on a player that’s being paid a lot of money. “We want them to come and do a proper pre-season so that they’re ready to play.”MORE NRL NEWSEXPOSED: The Bulldogs went on a BIG spending spree. But there’s a glaring problem‘WRECKING BALL’: How 143kg NRL player went from operation to $86m NFL dreamOFF-SEASON CENTRAL: Broncos’ roster strategy, Brisbane welcome Dolphins rivalryThe Storm have sought the NRL’s council and are currently exploring their legal options. Melbourne’s concern is that they will be disadvantaged if they sack the New Zealand international for not fulfilling his contractual obligations, with an NRL rival in another state a strong chance of picking up Asofa-Solomona. The AFL has mandated the vaccine in Victoria and across the competition, but ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo refuse to make the jab compulsory, fearing it would divide the game and create legal issues.The Storm confirmed they had one player unvaccinated but refused to identify him as Asofa-Solomona. On Thursday the NRL released its vaccination protocols at a meeting with all 16 clubs. The protocols allow unvaccinated players from NSW, Queensland and ACT to continue their club commitments in a restricted capacity.Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona.Source: AAPIn NSW, unvaccinated players will not be allowed to train with teammates before December 1, with the NRL urging clubs to create individual programs for those who have not been jabbed. Bulldogs star Luke Thompson, who is considering backflipping on his anti-vaccination stance has now asked the club to devise an individualised training program for him before his scheduled return to training on December 1.With the NSW public health orders expected to change again on December 1, the NRL’s protocols will be reassessed then. As of December 1 when most of the NRL team’s full squads are due back at training, unvaccinated players in NSW could potentially return to their teams under strict conditions.The conditions will be similar to the bubble players had to operate in during the pandemic over the last two seasons, including PCR testing, face masks, limiting their use of public transport and an agreement that they will not be allowed to visit pubs and clubs. Watch ‘Wild Wests: Tales from Tiger Town’ an exclusive Fox League behind-the-scenes production on demand on Kayo > Click here to watch Maroons want Bennett to assist Slater | 00:33As it stands unvaccinated players would not be allowed to play matches in Victoria, with Victorian Premier Dan Andrews refusing to give exemptions to tennis stars at the Australian Open in January. It is not known if his position on NRL players will change before the season commences in March. The NRL hopes unvaccinated players will be able to fly on certain commercial airlines by Round 1 of the 2022 season, but they will require an exemption from the NRL to travel on public transport.However the NRL are powerless to stop certain states from refusing entry to unvaccinated players when the matches start next season. NRL clubs are exploring their legal options over whether they can dock pay or terminate contracts.Knights to consider Pearce’s request | 00:31In an email to the NRL clubs Abdo warned unvaccinated players that they would face a number of obstacles in terms of training, playing and their life away from their club if they didn’t get the jab. “It is clear that those personnel who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will face significant logistical hurdles in 2022,” Abdo wrote. “Vaccination not only protects their health and that of those around them, but gives the best chance of an interruption-free 2022 season.”Regardless there will still be NRL guidelines for unvaccinated players, but clubs are considering restructuring contracts for those that cannot fulfil all playing and training duties. In a considerable hurdle the Queensland government is considering forcing teams and all close contacts into mandatory 14-day isolation if an unvaccinated player tests positive to COVID-19. Given every team plays almost every week, that could be a huge issue that affects the NRL schedule next season in the likely event that a player contracts COVID-19.



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