Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The 2022 NRL pre-season has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic as many players and staff across multiple clubs have tested positive for the disease, leading to club preparations for their upcoming campaign being interrupted.
Queensland’s three NRL clubs have been hit hard by the pandemic, as we found out more information on the current state of one club in particular recently.
Former premiership and Rugby League World Cup winner Jordan McLean fronted the NRL’s media team yesterday to give an insight into the current situation at the North Queensland Cowboys.
“I think there’s about ten [players who have contracted COVID-19] in the team at the moment”, said McLean.
“I think we might be a bit luckier than the Sydney teams at the moment, but we’ve just got to get on with it at the moment.”
A number of Cowboys players have tested positive to COVID-19.
— NQ Cowboys (@nthqldcowboys) January 6, 2022
McLean was then asked whether or not the players have come under any stress as a result of the new protocols they are now facing following the rising number of cases nationwide.
“Not really, we’ve been through it a bit already and I think we all expected it to come and it’s a bit out of our control now so we just have to try to get on with it,” explained McLean.
“Everyone in the competition has to deal with it, so we’ve just got to get on with it as best as we can and I think that the clubs who do that the best now might have a bit of a head start come round one.”
The former Australian international then went on to reveal that Cowboys players must take a Rapid Antigen Test before every training session they have and wait 15 minutes for a regular result before they are allowed inside the club’s training facilities and that masks are mandatory.
McLean then spoke of a silver lining that has emerged from this situation.
“There are going to be players who didn’t look like getting a run this year that might get a chance, so for some of the younger boys it’s a bit of a confidence booster I guess, knowing that they need to train and prepare their best for the season because they might get a run”, said McLean.
If this situation does lead to a crop of young Cowboys getting their shot at the NRL in 2022, then they will need leadership more than ever and McLean will need to be one of those players stepping up to the plate.