NRL: Newcastle Knights call off football operations for rest of 2021 due to recent outbreak

An NRL club has been forced to shut its doors for the rest of the year as a Covid outbreak in NSW continues to wreak havoc.

The recent Covid outbreak in the Hunter Region has forced the Newcastle Knights to call off all football operations for the rest of the year, effective immediately.

Hundreds of people have been recently classified as close contacts due to more than 80 attendees of a nightclub in Newcastle testing positive for Covid.

The Knights confirmed all players and staff would take a Covid test due to the recent outbreak.

The club also confirmed on Wednesday that development player Chris Vea’lia had tested positive.

Newcastle has since taken the decision to temporarily halt pre-season training due to the growing cluster of confirmed cases in the area.

Knights general manager of football Danny Buderus believed that continuing to train would be
“simply far too risky”.

“This was not an easy decision or one we made without a huge amount of discussion, but it was the right call to make,” Buderus said.

The Knights’ pre-season preparations have been thrown into disarray. Picture: Knights Digital
The Knights’ pre-season preparations have been thrown into disarray. Picture: Knights Digital

“With the current situation here in Newcastle, it was simply far too risky to continue training and we felt this was the appropriate action to take.

“We made the hard call to remove our football operations from our training base and take an early Christmas shutdown.

“Our players will be asked to apply good common sense to both their own health and individual training requirements during this period.”

The decision from the Knights comes after Tom Trbojevic and Nathan Cleary were forced into isolation after attending an event during an Emerging Blues camp.

A member of the Canberra Raiders football staff also tested positive, the club confirmed.

All players and staff at the Raiders have been told to take a Covid test and isolate immediately, but at this stage it has not forced the club to halt their football operations in a similar fashion to the Knights.

Originally published as NRL: Newcastle Knights call off football operations for rest of 2021 due to recent outbreak

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