The Queensland government has announced that they will not grant medical exemptions to players who refuse vaccinations, leaving Gold Coast Titans duo Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly in limbo.
The new NRL headache follows a minority of players refusing to accept vaccinations under the new medical protocols.
NSW government has passed the final decision on unvaccinated players to the NRL but today Queensland state government firmly denied any exemptions for those who refuse the jab.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said players will receive exemptions on medical grounds – but not for ethical beliefs.
“If they have got medical reasons for not being vaccinated (they will receive an exemption)," she said.
“If they have had an anaphylactic reaction to a previous flu vaccine or any component of a flu vaccine, you do not need to be vaccinated so I have provided that exemption.
“Although the NRL did not put that in their initial submission to me, I thought it was reasonable that the NRL players and support staff, coaches and officials have that same exemption that I provide for visitors going into aged-care facilities or for children.”
The Sydney Morning Herald saysthat the Titans could possibly cancel the duo's contracts if the stand-off continues – and could seek compensation from the NRL.
Australian Kangaroos coach and Titans culture manager Mal Meninga claimed the club is already at a disadvantage with only 30 players available, as both Cartwright and Kelly haven't been able to train and now won't be able to play.
“We’re not quite sure how it’s all going to pan out, if we get any compensation for those guys making those decisions, personal decisions that will put the team at a disadvantage and the club at a disadvantage,” Meninga told Fox Sports.
Reports claim that Cartwright will remain firm on his beliefs but Meninga said Kelly has been spoken to by health experts and an indigenous specialist to help him understand the benefit of vaccines.