The NRL no doubt heaved a huge a sigh of relief of Saturday after receiving the news that Sharks centre Bronson Xerri has tested negative to coronavirus.
The NRL no doubt heaved a huge a sigh of relief of Saturday after receiving the news that Sharks centre Bronson Xerri has tested negative to coronavirus.

Sharks star tests negative for coronavirus

Cronulla Sharks gun centre Bronson Xerri has been given the all clear after tests for coronavirus came back negative.

The young centre was sent home from training on Friday with flu-like symptoms before being tested for coronavirus.

Cronulla face South Sydney in their season opener on Saturday. Xerri was not named for the to face the Rabbitohs as he recovers from shoulder surgery

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Xerri is the first NRL player to be tested. Picture by Phil Hillyard.
Xerri is the first NRL player to be tested. Picture by Phil Hillyard.

The Sharks, and the NRL, went into damage control after the news broke, epecially as only one game of the opening round had been played.

 

A Sharks statement on Friday read: "Sharks Doctor Paul Annett is monitoring the situation and further information will be relayed should it be necessary, however while one player has been tested for COVID-19 as a precaution, neither has travelled or been in contact with anyone who has travelled to COVID-19 affected areas, are low risk and there is no suggestion they have contracted the virus.

"Following the advice of the Doctor and in line with NRL and health authority protocols, the two players were separated from the group, which would be normal practice in the instance of any player illness."

 

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A positive test could spell disaster for the NRL. Picture by Brett Costello.
A positive test could spell disaster for the NRL. Picture by Brett Costello.

The Australian Government advised on Friday afternoon that all non-essential gathering of more than 500 people from Monday should be avoided in order to limit the spread of the virus.

Following these announcements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg announced that Round 1 of the NRL would proceed as normal, but fans would be banned from attendance in Round 2. However, if players are found to have contracted coronavirus, the NRL could potentially be forced to suspend the competition.