One thing is dominating the headlines down under at the moment and that’s the dispute over the Covid-19 vaccine.
Plenty of players have taken a stance against receiving the coronavirus vaccine which has been a massive problem for clubs based both in Queensland and Victoria with harsh rules being imposed by both the Queensland and Victoria governments meaning unvaccinated players would not be able to play in these states.
Both Brisbane and North Queensland have pursued fully vaccinated squads before Christmas whilst Gold Coast are also determined to get as many players vaccinated as possible with concerns being raised last week over whether or not Brian Kelly would receive the jab.
The pressures placed on NRL clubs even led to doubts over Luke Thompson’s future and saw Canterbury part company with new signing John Asiata.
Another club under pressure is the Victoria based Melbourne Storm who are still the home of the most high-profile unvaccinated player in the shape prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona. The two-time NRL winner has taken a determined stance against receiving the vaccine leaving Melbourne in a difficult position with one of their best players likely to be unavailable for most of the season if he remains unvaccinated.
Asofa-Solomona has been vocal in his opposition of the jab but has also taken to deactivating his social media accounts following the backlash from his decision to reject the vaccine. It seems his decision to limit contact with others has extended to his teammates with Melbourne skipper Jesse Bromwich revealing that his fellow forward hasn’t gotten in touch with him since the vaccination problem reared its head not even replying to Bromwich’s attempts to reach out to him.
The Kiwi said in an interview with AAP: “I’m very hopeful that ‘NAS’ will come back, he’s a powerful man and a big part of our team.
“A lot of us boys care deeply for him and I’ve tried to reach out to him but I didn’t get anything back.
“I know he’s got his beliefs around vaccination and it’s up to him but we really want him to come back so hopefully the matter resolves itself soon.
“I just don’t like this awkwardness between us – I’m very close with him so hopefully we can get it sorted soon.”
It seems Asofa-Solomona is the only unvaccinated player currently at the club meaning he is alone in this issue and perhaps feels as though he’s on the outside of the rest of the squad perhaps resulting in the aforementioned awkwardness.
Bromwich and his teammates will certainly be hoping the issue resolves itself soon.