Sports

NRL struck down by COVID-19 as clubs brace for difficult season ahead


NRL coaches expect to be without between three and six players every weekend of the 2022 season as the COVID Omicron variant sweeps across the country.

Several clubs are already feeling the effects of the virus, with large numbers of players and staff unable to resume training after the Christmas break this week.

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Club’s in Sydney’s west – the Panthers, Tigers and Eels, have been among the hardest hit, prompting the dire prediction from coaches.

“We have been talking among a few of the coaches and medical staffs and we reckon we will have to be without three to six players most weekends if the current trend continues,” one leading coach told Wide World of Sports.

“That will be a combination of players who actually have COVID and those who are deemed close contacts.

“It’s going to really put a strain on all clubs but this is the new world we are living in.”

Since the Omicron variant reared its ugly head late last year, a host of sports have been hit hard worldwide.

Seventeen English Premier League matches were postponed in November and December, with more to come.

The EPL has brought in a rule that if clubs have 14 fit outfield players and a goalkeeper, they should play – but cases are assessed on an individual basis.

The NRL has brought in strict protocols to prevent players from catching the virus, but with Sydney averaging over 20,000 new cases a day, it seems just a matter of time before the code will be in crisis.

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