SYDNEY, June 7 (Reuters) - A minimum of three players would need to fail the National Rugby League’s (NRL) pre-match COVID-19 temperature screening tests before officials make a decision on whether to cancel a game, a top official of the sport said on Sunday.
The NRL became the first professional team sport in Australia to resume competition last week and introduced strict health monitoring, which includes temperature checks for players before games.
Six players from the Cronulla Sharks failed their initial temperature check before their match against North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday, but all were cleared to play following a second check 15 minutes later.
Three other players failed initial checks ahead of Thursday’s game between the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos.
The NRL’s head of football Graham Annesley told the Australian Associated Press on Sunday that failed repeated temperature checks would be referred to league officials.
“There’s a process that kicks in immediately when we have a problem,” Annesley told AAP.
“The (Australian Rugby League) Commission ultimately decides whether a game should proceed or not, or whether it should be deferred or whatever other options there might be.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”
Any player registering a temperature above 37.2 Celsius (98.96 Fahrenheit) is deemed to have failed the test.
A faulty device was believed to have caused so many failures on Saturday.
Cronulla coach John Morris jokingly admitted after his side’s 26-16 victory he was worried he might have to come out of retirement.
“They were dropping like flies. It was kind of like trying to get into a nightclub when you haven’t got your ID - they were all getting turned away,” Morris told reporters.
“I was like, ‘What’s going on here? I’m going to have to pull the boots on’.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Anna Nicolaci