Frank Pritchard in serious Covid fight; Andrew Johns treated in hospital after positive test

Former NRL star Frank Pritchard is battling the effects of Covid and could be put in an induced coma, as it was revealed Andrew Johns sought hospital care because of the virus.

Former NRL star Frank Pritchard could be put in an induced coma as he fights the effects of Covid-19.

The Daily Telegraph can confirm the ex-Canterbury and Penrith forward has spent the past few days in the ICU at Liverpool Hospital after testing positive to the disease during Christmas.

Frank Pritchard played 282 league games across stints at the Panthers, Bulldogs, Hull FC in the UK, and Parramatta.
Frank Pritchard played 282 league games across stints at the Panthers, Bulldogs, Hull FC in the UK, and Parramatta.

It is understood Pritchard, 38, has long battled with asthma problems and previously suffered from lung complications.

“We’re all praying for him, that he gets better and back to his family,” player manager Mario Tartak said.

Pritchard, a former New Zealand and Samoan international, retired from the game in 2017 after playing 282 games across stints at the Panthers, Bulldogs, Hull FC in the UK, and Parramatta.

He has since been involved in coaching stints with the Samoan national team, and junior development in western Sydney.

Pritchard during his time with the Eels before retiring in 2017. Picture: Getty Images
Pritchard during his time with the Eels before retiring in 2017. Picture: Getty Images

Immortal strength: Joey hospitalised with Covid

Rugby League Immortal Andrew Johns has survived a Covid scare after the Knights legend was admitted to a NSW regional hospital.

It’s believed Johns had been on holiday in the Riverina region with his partner Kate Kendall and young daughter.

The Daily Telegraph has confirmed Johns tested positive for Covid during the trip and was then admitted to Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.

After receiving treatment for the virus, Johns was then taken to isolate at a hotel in the southern NSW town.

It’s believed Johns was the only resident at the hotel, where a security guard had been installed outside of his room.

Andrew Johns is said to be in good health despite his Covid scare. Picture by Liam Driver.
Andrew Johns is said to be in good health despite his Covid scare. Picture by Liam Driver.

Johns has since returned to Sydney and is said to be in good health.

Johns, who won two titles in Knights colours, has returned to the club as a specialist coaching consultant to work alongside Adam O’Brien two days per week.

The coaching shake-up has Johns charged with the task of helping to build the side’s new halves combination and transforming the Knights’ attack in season 2022. Last season, Newcastle averaged the second least points of any team in the NRL-era to make a finals series.

The news of Johns’ Covid case comes as NSW recorded a huge surge in numbers on New Year’s Eve with over 21,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus.

The NRL is currently on a mandated Christmas break, but around 480 players are expected back to pre-season training from next week.

In a bid to avoid disruptions and prevent an outbreak in club ranks, the NRL will introduce a raft of new biosecurity measures from next week. Players will be tested daily, for months, before being able to attend training and asked to monitor symptoms and record their movements on a specially designed app.

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