Gold Coast Titans star Bryce Cartwright has been stood down by the NRL as it toughens its stance on vaccination following pressure from the federal government.
And he has been joined by two teammates, with Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young confirming the news on Friday afternoon.
“I’ve had a discussion with (the NRL) this morning and they’ve stood down those three players at the moment, until we work through what it means,” Young said.
Cartwright initially refused to sign a waiver accepting liability for refusing to take the flu shot, however the waiver has become irrelevant after the NRL adjusted its policy to align with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ‘no jab, no play’ suggestion.
The change rules Cartwright out indefinitely, and there are likely to be many other players with a huge decision to make.
It is already public knowledge that three Raiders players are refusing the flu shot due to religious beliefs.
Among those players is Test star Josh Papalii, who did not attend the first Raiders training session after the COVD-19 shutdown as he sought clarity on the NRL’s vaccination policy.
Cartwright, Papalii, Sia Soliolo and Joseph Tapine are the four players who have made headlines since the flu jab was raised as an issue but there are likely to be several others at loggerheads with the tough stance.
The vaccination story moved swiftly today, with Cartwright reporting to Titans training after agreeing to sign a waiver that had been softened from the document he initially refused to sign.
Based on yesterday’s advice from ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys that would have cleared Cartwright to play but according to Nine News sports editor Cameron Williams, V’landys and the NRL made the call to toughen its stance on the basis of advice from its medicos and the tough rhetoric coming from senior figures in the federal government.
“Titans coach Justin Holbrook is 100 percent correct when he says Cartwright has signed new waiver and is compliant. Trouble is the medicos and politicians don’t accept the waivers. No jab, no play and sensible forces at NRL know this,” Williams tweeted.
That information aligned with Seven News reporter Chris Garry who put out a similar tweet at around the same time.