NRL club confirms star has been sacked after COVID-19 vaccination refusal

Rugby League mistake

NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs have agreed to part ways with John Asiata following his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Bulldogs become the first side to lose a player over the vaccination program, but Asiata had only just joined the club on a one-year deal in the off-season.

And, the 28-year-old told the Bulldogs in November that he’d rather work on a construction site than be given the jab.

Club bosses warned Asiata last week he’d be sacked if his stance didn’t change.

“The Bulldogs and John Asiata have agreed to part ways by mutual consent,” the club said in a statement.

“Asiata, signed with the club this season, but had yet to train with the squad.

“The Bulldogs wish John and his family all the best for the future.”

NRL players cannot enter stadiums in Queensland and Victoria next year, or enter New Zealand, if they are unvaccinated.

Bulldogs chief executive officer Aaron Warburton said last week that no unvaccinated players will play for the club.

“We won’t have someone in our squad that can’t fulfil their contractual obligations,” Warburton said.

“And if they can’t fulfil that, then they won’t be there next year.”

State restrictions will hamper NRL players that are unvaccinated with only the AFL issuing a sport-wide mandate for the jab.

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