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The National Rugby League (NRL), acting on the advice of biosecurity experts, has today placed South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and St George Illawarra Dragons player Paul Vaughan on a 14-day “COVID Hold”.

The decision was made after the pair contravened NRL biosecurity protocols by dining separately at restaurants.

Both Bennett and Vaughan must isolate from their respective squads for two weeks and test negative to COVID-19 at the conclusion of the “COVID Hold” before returning to their squads.

Acting chief executive Andrew Abdo said the decision to remove both individuals was regrettable but a necessary part of the NRL’s biosecurity protocols.

“We are living in extraordinary times and we must do everything in our power to ensure the health and safety of our players, staff and the general community,’’ he said.

“This is a regrettable decision but today’s actions will operate as an important reminder to our players and staff about the importance of strict adherence to the protocols.”

Mr Abdo acknowledged the efforts of all clubs in complying with the protocols.

“Our players and staff have made significant sacrifices to ensure the season can proceed. I have sympathy for the liberties they have had to give up and I am proud of how well the overwhelming majority have complied with our protocols.

“We have worked closely with governments, biosecurity experts and our clubs to ensure a successful and entertaining season and today’s enforcement of protocols will ensure no risk to the playing groups or the general community.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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