The families of NRL stars serving two weeks in hotel quarantine before linking up with the footy players in their respective bubbles have had their balcony rights stripped from them after Daily Mail Australia exposed several men and women breaching protocol on the first day.
Pictures taken on Thursday show men and women staying inside the Novotel hotel in Surfers Paradise passing lollies to people on floors above and below them – a violation of the rules clearly explained to them by Queensland Health and the NRL.
CEO Andrew Abdo informed families on Friday night during a phone link-up that they were having their balcony privileges removed, meaning they could no longer walk outside for fresh air or lie in the Gold Coast sun or for the remainder of their fortnight stay.
Families were given a reminder of the protocol they must be following with their dinner on Friday night which included the ‘do’s and dont’s’ on their balconies. The privileges were stripped altogether not long later.
Mr Abdo called the 500 men, women and children who are apart of the NRL’s family bubble to tell them they could no longer use their verandas, and said people would be sent home without hesitation if they broke another rule.
The league is quietly concerned its competition is in jeopardy and have taken the extreme measures to ensure its Queensland relocation goes ahead – with no plan B in place.
The season is now hanging by a thread as the state’s Chief Health Officer has promised she will send the competition packing if there is one more broken rule.
Pictures on Thursday show men and women staying inside the Novotel hotel in Surfers Paradise as a part of the NRL’s bubble passing lollies to people on floors above and below them
Those passing sweets to people on other floors appear to be breaching the rules. A source at the hotel told Daily Mail Australia the people shown in the photos are part of the NRL bubble. There’s no suggestion the other people pictured have broken the bubble’s rules
CEO Andrew Abdo informed families on Friday night during a phone link-up that they were having their balcony privileges removed, meaning they could no longer walk lie in the Gold Coast sun or for the remainder of their fortnight stay
According to hotel sources the people pictured are part of the NRL’s bubble and it has been confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that they were breaching isolation rules.
Queensland CHO Dr Jeannette Young put the players, their families and the entire competition on notice in Friday morning’s coronavirus press conference, saying she was ‘very close’ to kicking the NRL out of the state.
‘I’m getting very close to it,’ Dr Young said of revoking the league’s exemption.
‘I’m very, very concerned about what is happening with these NRL players.
‘You would have seen that imagery of the family hotel where they were sharing goods between verandahs.
‘It’s for all of them. This is too risky. We just cannot have people deliberately breaching the rules.’
Dr Young will not hesitate to send the NRL packing if the rules are broken one more time, a Queensland government source told Daily Mail Australia.
NRL HQ had a chaotic time of it on Thursday after Daily Mail Australia exposed two breaches – the hotel quarantine violation and married Penrith Panthers star Api Koroisau bringing a woman into the New South Wales State of Origin bubble.
The publication exclusively revealed on Thursday that Koroisau allegedly put the entire NRL competition at risk by smuggling a woman he met on Instagram into the Blues hotel on two occasions.
Koroisau allegedly snuck the woman into the Blues camp on June 20 – one day before the team was moved to Kingscliff, in northern NSW, to escape Sydney’s rampant Covid outbreak.
The married father-of-two allegedly also met up with the woman on a second occasion, on the day of Game 2, when the team was in a ‘bubble’ to prevent any potential exposure to the virus.
The woman claims Koroisau gave her ‘strict’ instructions on how to sneak into camp without being noticed.
Api Koroisau’s wife (pictured together) said she sensed something was amiss after her husband returned from camp, and had no doubt the truth would come out eventually
Daily Mail Australia understands Koroisau sent grovelling texts (pictured) to his wife after she was told of the incident
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she met Korosiau on Instagram in early June, and their communication quickly moved to Snapchat
Koroisau’s wife Amy and the couple’s two children arrived at the Gold Coast on Wednesday to join him in the Queensland NRL hub and are now completing their mandatory 14-day quarantine stint
They planned to meet a third time but the woman claimed Koroisau put an end to the dalliance hours before she was due to arrive after Jai Arrow was unceremoniously dumped from the Maroons camp over a similar incident involving a female dancer being invited back to his hotel.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she met Koroisau on Instagram in June, and he quickly prompted her to message him on Snapchat instead.
Over the course of a few days and their two meetings, she ‘developed feelings’ for him, claiming she fell for his ‘sweet, nice, caring’ personality.
‘I actually started to have little feels for him,’ she said. ‘He came across like such a sweet nice caring guy who gave me a lot of attention and sweet words.. I definitely got sucked in!’
But she’d also been instructed not to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on any of his content on Instagram in case his wife saw and got suspicious.
Koroisau was 18th man for games one and two, and allegedly invited the woman to join him at the Novotel in Homebush on June 20.
The NRL has gone to extreme lengths to keep the game alive since the pandemic began 18 months ago, including demanding all players enter a ‘bubble’ to avoid potential outbreaks.
The families touched down in the Gold Coast on Wednesday after being given special permission to leave Covid-hit Sydney and quarantine in a luxury resort on the Gold Coast for two weeks.
Instagram messages sent from Amy’s account suggest Koroisau admitted to the rendezvous but assured his wife there was ‘no emotional connection’
The woman claims the next morning, Koroisau told her he’d be ‘deleting his Snapchat’ because he was heading home to his wife, and urged her not to contact him on Instagram in case his wife read the message. Pictured: An exchange between Koroisau’s wife’s Instagram account and the other woman
Amy was contacted in a series of messages by the woman, who apologised for her role in the alleged fling
Pictures on Thursday show men and women staying inside the Novotel hotel in Surfers Paradise passing lollies to the rooms either side of them as well as to people on floors above and below.
Restrictions were increased on the near-500 Sydney-based family members as they arrived, with those staying now confined to remaining on their floors rather than mixing as was previously planned.
The women and children were believed to be divided into the same groups as their NRL player partners, who will be based in three hotels across south-eastern Queensland.
It comes after reports that at least one family in the hub have requested to leave the Gold Coast hotel after the changes were made.
Those passing sweets to people on other floors appear to be breaching those new rules, according to a source at Queensland Health.
Daily Mail Australia alerted Queensland Health, who said the matter should be investigated by Queensland Police and the NRL.
A source at the hotel told Daily Mail Australia the people shown in the photos are part of the NRL bubble.
There is no suggestion any of the other NRL family members staying at the hotel have broken the NRL’s bubble rules.
According to reports by the Daily Telegraph, there are doubts many partners will last the two weeks isolating after they were left without water and milk in their first 24 hours while a young mother wrongly had her baby formula delivered to a different floor.
Queensland CHO Dr Jeannette Young put the players, their families and the entire competition on notice in Friday morning’s coronavirus press conference, saying she was ‘very close’ to kicking the NRL out of the state
Among those preparing to settle in to their new hotel at the Novotel Surfers Paradise was Jack De Belin’s partner Alyce Taylor (pictured). Daily Mail Australia is not alleging Ms Taylor broke bubble rules
The league was forced to relocate its 16 teams to three bubbles in Queensland last week to escape growing Covid outbreaks in NSW and Victoria, with separate hubs set up on the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast.
Close to 500 Sydney-based family members will spend the next 14 days at the Novotel hotel in Surfers Paradise before joining their NRL star partners in their respective hubs.
There are reportedly serious problems surfacing within the first 24 hours of the families isolating, with basics including water, milk and baby food not being supplied.
Initially there were supposed to be separate food halls for the families, but that has since changed with the increased restrictions.
The hotel is now being forced to deliver the same meals to each room, similar to hotel quarantine for returning travellers, meaning many partners and their children’s dietary requirements are not being met.
Hotel management spoke to the families over the hotel speaker on Thursday morning, apologising on behalf of the NRL for the unforeseen changes to protocol and asking for their patience.
‘This is a message on behalf of the NRL,’ the worker said over the system, according to the Telegraph.
‘Dear NRL families, the past 24 hours have been challenging. Queensland Health changed restrictions overnight on short notice which require people to stay on their hotel level and avoid crossover from people on other levels.
‘This is creating significant logistical challenges and reconfiguration of the hotel set-up. We are currently working with Queensland Health to address the changes and create a better environment for all of you.
‘Firstly, we are working full-time to ensure deliveries of the urgent supplies you need, meeting your special dietary requirements and creating a more efficient way of being served your meals.
‘We understand how difficult the conditions have been since you have arrived but we are working on a plan to provide you with more comfort and more freedom.
‘Your wellbeing is our absolute priority and we will keep you updated as the situation is improved for you.’
Wives and girlfriends of footy stars have arrived in Queensland ahead of quarantining before joining their partners in their respective bubbles (pictured Tariq Sims’ wife Ashleigh and their daughter). Daily Mail Australia is not alleging Mrs Sims broke bubble rules
Dozens of other wives, girlfriends and their children arrived at the Novotel on Wednesday morning where they will spend the next 14 days ‘isolating’ rather than quarantining. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging they have broken bubble rules
Jack De Belin’s girlfriend Alyce Taylor arrives at Coolangatta airport with their two young children on Wednesday afternoon. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging Ms Taylor broke bubble rules
Jack de Belin’s partner Alyce Taylor along with Tariq Sims’ model wife Ashleigh were among the WAG arrivals on Wednesday morning as they were spotted on the tarmac carrying luggage with their children.
Benji Marshall and his wife Zoe touched down later on Wednesday afternoon with their newborn daughter Ever and son Fox.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs star opted to stay back in Sydney with his wife after the birth of their second child last month. The pair will have adjoining rooms on the top floor of the hotel away from the other families.
The league’s relocation to Queensland will cost upwards of $12million a month, and WAGs were only given clearance to fly in from Sydney after the NRL sent detailed applications for each individual.
The family members will stay on different levels of the Novotel hotel, defined by the regions of Sydney they have come from.
Families from Sydney’s south-west will be separated from families coming from the east and inner-west given the restrictions applied to certain local government areas.
The wives, girlfriends and children are not allowed to use the pool and there are three different dining halls for the three groups – which can only be used at different times.
Daily Mail Australia understands some of the families have removalists on standby in the likely event the competition is permanently moved to Queensland, facing two to three months in their new bubbles.
They are subject to Queensland Health’s Covid testing, meaning the state’s authorities will handle any positive cases rather than the NRL.
After completing their quarantine they will be able to join them in their teams’ NRL hub.
South Sydney Rabbitohs star Benji Marshall (left) and wife Zoe (right) arrived later on Wednesday afternoon. Marshall chose not to fly to Sydney with his teammates last week so he could be with his newborn daughter (pictured). Daily Mail Australia is not alleging the Marshalls broke bubble rules
The Marshalls and their two young kids will have adjoining rooms on the top floor of the hotel away from the other families. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging the Marshalls broke bubble rules
The wives, girlfriends and children will spend two weeks at the Novotel Surfers Paradise before linking up with their partners at their respective bubbles in Queensland
Families from Sydney’s south-west will be separated from families coming from the east and inner-west given the restrictions applied to certain local government areas. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging she broke bubble rules
The 500-odd group of women and children only found out they would be joining their partners on Monday night after NRL CEO Andrew Abdo sent a letter confirming the news.
‘Thank you for your patience over the last few days,’ Abdo wrote in the letter, obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘I’m delighted to inform you that as promised, we will be able to reunite you with your family in Queensland soon. The Queensland Government has this evening approved our application to relocate Sydney based families to the Gold Coast.
‘When you arrive on the Gold Coast, you will commence 14 days of quarantine at an NRL-managed Family Hub in Surfers Paradise before being reunited with your partners at club hotels. The majority of families will be free to move around the resort and make use of the facilities while you are in quarantine.
‘Families who are based in the three Local Government Areas, which are currently under NSW Public Health orders not to leave, will also be permitted to travel. As I explained to you on a call earlier this evening, you will be located in a separate section of the hotel to minimise risk to the broader group.
‘I want to thank you all for the patience you have shown while our team has worked closely with Queensland and NSW Governments to have the necessary exemptions approved.
‘We promised all players and families that you would be reunited and we are pleased that we are now delivering on that promise.
‘We have a responsibility to ensure we keep the Queensland community safe and healthy. My team will be in touch with you directly over the next 24 hours to ensure you clearly understand the conditions and protocols we must comply with. Thank you for making yourself available so promptly today for COVID-19 testing.
‘The sacrifices you are making to keep the competition going is not lost on the Australian Rugby League Commision, or myself. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have further questions.
‘We will do all we can to make this relocation as comfortable as possible for you and your children and we will be arranging some additional support for you during the 14 days.’
The wives, girlfriends and children are not allowed to use the pool and there are three different dining halls for the three groups – which can only be used at different times. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging they have broken bubble rules
Some of the families have removalists on standby in case the competition is permanently moved to Queensland, facing two to three months in their new bubbles. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging they have broken bubble rules
The Warriors, Eels, Rabbitohs, Raiders and Bulldogs are all based at the Mercure Hotel on the Gold Coast.
The Panthers, Roosters, Knights and Sea Eagles are staying at the Novotel Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast.
Brisbane’s Novotel Southbank is hosting the Sharks, Dragons and Tigers.
The NRL originally planned to fly the families up over the weekend, only for Queensland Government officials to request further details before granting exemptions.
That prompted several nervous days for anxious players and their partners, as well as scrambling behind the scenes by NRL and club staff.
The partner of an NRL star and their three children touch down on the Gold Coast on Wednesday afternoon. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging they have broken bubble rules
Masks on: The WAGs will be forced to undergo quarantine in the Novotel hotel for 14 days before joining their partners. Daily Mail Australia is not alleging she broke bubble rules