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Canterbury centre Jake Averillo and his family will wait for COVID-19 test results as the NRL issued a timely reminder to clubs that the global pandemic was still highly volatile.

Averillo was inadvertently caught up in the COVID-19 protocols after his parents dined at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula which has become a cluster recently for an outbreak of the virus.

Penrith debutant Charlie Staines is also facing an uncertain short-term future after his club informed the NRL on Monday he had breached biosecurity protocols after his memorable debut on Saturday.

The 19-year-old hosted 10 visitors at his home after his four-try effort in the win over Cronulla, including his parents, his sister, the parents of his partner and four friends.

Players can host up to 10 visitors at their place of residence each day however those visitors must attend in groups of no more than five.

According to a Panthers statement, in the early hours of Sunday morning Staines suffered a recurrence of lockjaw, a condition he has dealt with previously, as recently as the 2020 pre-season.

From Forbes, to Flegg, to four on debut

According to the club, Staines attended the emergency department at Nepean Hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning for treatment.

He was released some time later, but has been stood down from playing and training pending biosecurity advice as he did not inform the club regarding visitors or his medical treatment.

"Charlie has been extremely naive on this occasion and inadvertently breached the protocols that are in place to protect the game,” Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said.

Earlier on Monday afternoon, head of football Graham Annesley said the NRL's letter to clubs was not because two players – Averillo and Eels prop Stefano Utoikamanu – had inadvertently been caught up in the COVID-19 biosecurity measures.

Rather it was the deteriorating situation in Victoria, in tandem with clusters now popping up in NSW.

Annesley said while restrictions on players were loosened a couple of weeks ago, allowing them to go to cafes, the beach, play golf, have friends over to their homes, the NRL would re-impose stiffer measures "if the situation requires it".

"Because of the developing situation in Victoria, in particular, and some of the recent cases that have come up in NSW, there was a fairly extensive note – audited by our [medical] experts – going out to all clubs today to remind them of how serious the situation still is," Annesley said at his weekly Monday media conference.

Eels rookie Stefano Utoikamanu.
Eels rookie Stefano Utoikamanu. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"At this stage there's no need to re-impose those (bio-security measures) that were loosened but it's an ongoing situation. We act entirely on their advice and if we have to re-impose tougher conditions then we'll do that."

Averillo, 19, lives with his parents, who dined at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, south-western Sydney.

NSW Health authorities have asked for anyone having a meal at the hotel from July 3 to come forward for testing. Averillo did not go to the hotel but has been stood down from Bulldogs training and other club duties.

The Averillos have isolated themselves and that mandated fortnight ends this Sunday. The family will be tested again.

Utoikamanu broke biosecurity measures when he hugged a group of relatives after the Eels' 10-4 win over the Knights on Sunday, as he had made his NRL debut in the last minute of that game at McDonald Jones Stadium.

All three players are now on what Annesley term "COVID hold". By this weekend the NRL will know more about the Averillos' case.

Graham Annesley weekly football briefing - Round 9

"After that if they test negatively everything should be OK there," Annesley said.

"With the other case everything is on hold until further discussion with our experts tonight [Monday] in our Zoom call with them.

"Everyone must realise that this is a situation that needs constant compliance.

"If we don't comply and we get any kind of infection within the NRL individual bubbles then that poses a threat to the NRL competition."

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