Fans attending Saturday night’s All Stars clash will be able to get a COVID booster shoot after the NSW Government announced the creation of a walk-in vaccination hub at CommBank Stadium.
The vaccination centre will be open from 4pm to 8pm and is available for any of the 25,000 fans who have already purchased tickets for the men’s, women’s and touch triple-header between the Indigenous and Maori All Stars teams to get their booster.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo joined Indigenous All Stars players Ryan James, Tyrell Fuimaono, Tahlulah Tillett and Caitlan Johnston to help launch the vaccination hub at CommBank Stadium.
NRL All Stars updated teams
NSW Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ben Franklin said the All Stars match was an opportunity to increase vaccination rates in the Indigenous community.
“Western Sydney is home to more Aboriginal people than anywhere else in Australia and because of that a lot of Aboriginal people will be attending the game on Saturday night,” he said.
“We know that vaccines work and that boosters work. Even though the Aboriginal take-up of vaccines has been high and good it is still lower than non-Aboriginal people so we are still keen for as many Aboriginal people to take advantage of the boosters as they possibly can.
“That is why we are so excited that there is a pop-up booster hub here from 4pm to 8pm on Saturday afternoon.
It is free, it is walk-in and there is nothing more important than protecting yourselves, your loved ones and the community.Ben Franklin NSW Minister for Indigenous Affairs
The All Stars clash is the opening fixture of the biggest season in the game’s history and will also be the first match played in Sydney since the NRL was forced to relocate the Telstra Premiership to Queensland last June.
The 2021 NRLW season was postponed and will kick off on February 27 with a triple-header in Newcastle, with this year’s competition to be played as scheduled at the end of the season before the men’s, women’s and wheelchair World Cups in England.
Abdo said the NRL was doing everything possible to avoid interruptions to the 2022 season and hoped that all matches could be played in front of crowds.
“It is a terrific that the players have shown a lot of initiative in promoting vaccinations and boosters,” Abdo said. “We have a pop-up centre here at the stadium and the public health orders are in place.
“The majority of NSW is vaccinated and there is a strong case for all of us to get boosted because we know that it is safe.”
After successfully completing the past two seasons since the beginning of the global pandemic, Abdo said the NRL would introduce measures to help players and clubs deal with the ever-changing COVID environment.
“Everyone has done a terrific job in navigating this space for a long period of time now, and our focus this season is on season continuity,” he said.
“The environment is different, so we are doing our protocols in slightly different ways. We certainly don’t want our players living in bubbles any longer, just like the community.
“It is a busy year, we have got two NRLW premierships, we have got the Telstra Premiership and then we have got a World Cup at the end of the year, as well. Rapid antigen testing is critical and that is happening every day.
"We are asking the players to take reasonable measures to stay safe but ultimately, we don’t want to miss any games and we are not planning for the suspension or the postponement of any games so we have had to think outside the box and had to think about squad depth.”
Maori All Stars v Indigenous All Stars
The All Stars match will be the first major rugby league event of the 2022 calendar. The All Stars matches will be broadcast live on the Nine Network, Fox League, SKY New Zealand and on NRL Live Pass.
Tickets are available from $25 for adults and $75 for families via nrl.com/tickets.
2022 Harvey Norman All Stars
4:00pm AEDT — Gates Open at CommBank Stadium
4:05pm — Touch Football, Indigenous vs. Maori All Stars
5:20pm — Women's, Indigenous vs. Maori All Stars
8:10pm — Men's, Indigenous vs. Maori All Stars