Four officials quarantined for 'Swine' Influenza

Four refereeing officials have today been placed in a five-day quarantine after being exposed to H1N1 influenza virus on a domestic flight to Canberra last weekend.

Referees Jared Maxwell and Bernard Sutton along with side-line officials, Jeff Younis and Ricky McFarlane were advised by ACT and NSW Departments of Health officials today that a fellow passenger had tested positive to the virus. The officials are to remain in quarantine until at least seven days after the exposure. 

Referees coach Robert Finch has today adjusted the round’s refereeing appointments.

NRL Chief Operating Officer Mr Graham Annesley said today that the NRL was following all directions issued by Health authorities:

“We are confident that no other players or officials were on the flight and we have been advised that there is no need to take any further measure beyond quarantining the four officials involved.

“The authorities have assured us that we do not need to look at any quarantine issues in regard to the remainder of the refereeing squad or anyone else the referees have come into contact with after the flight, unless of course those people begin to display any flu-like symptoms.

“Like everyone we are closely monitoring all government advisories in regard to the H1N1 virus.

“Ultimately this is not something that we can build detailed contingency plans around beyond working closely with the relevant authorities.”

Maxwell and Sutton have been replaced in the St George Illawarra v Penrith match by Jason Robinson and Steve Lyons who will each control two matches this weekend.

Ricky McFarlane was scheduled in the Toyota Cup match between the Rabbitohs and the Raiders and is being replaced by Brendan Wood.

Jeff Younis is scheduled for next Wednesday’s Harvey Norman State of Origin match and will, provided he exhibits no symptoms after the quarantine period, still be able to take part in that game.

“We have been assured by the Department of Health that there is no need to prevent him from taking on that duty if he remains free of all symptoms,” Mr Annesley said.