Gold Coast Titans Duo Stood Down For Refusing Flu Shot
The Gold Coast Titans have stood down Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly for refusing to have a flu shot.
In a statement on Friday night, the club confirmed the duo had been stood down by the NRL from official duties until further notice.
"The Club is following the directives of the Queensland Government and National Rugby League in that players who do not comply with the required vaccination protocols will be unable to participate in training or play," it said.
"Under the strict NRL Project Apollo Club Protocols, all players are to receive compulsory vaccinations unless medically precluded.
"Both players have been given the necessary information, as well as welfare assistance, in relation to the matter to assist them moving forward."
Queensland's Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young confirmed at a press conference on Friday that the players had been stood down, but could not expand on what that meant for their playing futures.
"In actual fact, they've done a very good job. All their other players, staff and officials are all vaccinated," she said.
"That is an amazing outcome so I'm sure we're going to be able to sort it all out. That's all being fixed.”
The NRL directed players -- including Cartwright, who has been vocal about his anti-vax stance -- to sign a waiver if they didn't want to get the jab -- but the waivers were not accepted by the Queensland government, which requires all players and staff to be flu immunised before the revamped season goes ahead.
Titans hooker Nathan Peats said shortly after the announcement by the CMO he would be getting the vaccine on Friday afternoon. His original decision to not receive the jab was due to a "bad experience" in 2012 while he was playing at the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
"That's my ... only reason behind it," he wrote in a Tweet.
"I’ve spoken to the club and will get the jab this afternoon. I had the option to say yes or no and I chose no for that reason.
"If I knew it would blow up I would have said yes straight away."
The Queensland government only allowed NRL teams to return to training in the state if all players were vaccinated.
At this stage, it is unclear if any other NRL players in Queensland, NSW or Victoria have been stood down.
The development comes on the same day Scott Morrison backed any decision by state governments to apply a 'No jab, no play' policy to the NRL.
The governing body was forced to amend its waiver form on Thursday, allowing players who refused the flu shot to play when the season resumes on May 28.
All Titans players, including Cartwright, signed the form on Friday, however that didn't stop Morrison from heaping pressure on the game to make the jab compulsory.
"Ultimately, states and territories have to determine what the health requirements are as they apply to the NRL," Morrison said.
"And if they were to be insisting on that, I would think that is entirely reasonable."