*Edited full article because it keeps getting updated
Broncos relocating to Sydney due to Brisbane’s COVID-19 shutdown
Broncos players will spend the next two weeks on the road to beat Brisbane’s three-day lockdown and ensure their preparations for critical clashes against the Storm and Rabbitohs aren’t affected further by COVID-19 restrictions.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a three-day lockdown for the Greater Brisbane area on Monday and the Broncos responded by hastily organising for fifty players and staff to fly out of the Queensland capital that afternoon to Sydney, where they will prepare for Friday’s clash against Melbourne.
The Broncos will return to NSW after the round-four clash and be based in Sydney for another week before taking on the Bunnies on Thursday, April 8.
There is no set return date to Brisbane for the players.
Broncos players have been in home isolation since Saturday’s win over Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium and have all returned negative COVID-19 tests.
“The players and staff have taken the changes in their stride, and while it’s tough on many of our team with young families, they are keen to get on the road and prepare for a great challenge against the Storm,” interim Broncos CEO Neil Monaghan said.
"We will then stay in Sydney to get ready for the Rabbitohs game, which will ensure the continuity of the competition.
“Coach Kevin Walters and all the players and staff are seeing this time on the road as a great opportunity to further strengthen their team bond, especially coming off the back of a morale boosting win.”
Brisbane’s next home game is slated for Thursday night in round six against 2020 grand finalists Penrith.
The Queensland government announced a snap lockdown starting at 5pm on Monday after 10 new COVID-19 cases were recorded overnight.
As it stands, round four NRL clashes on the Sunshine Coast, where the Cowboys host Cronulla, and the Gold Coast, where the Titans take on Canberra, are not affected by the Brisbane lockdown.
InTrust Super Cup fixtures won’t be impacted by the lockdown at this point as the competition already had an Easter break scheduled between rounds 2 and 3 – which is due to kick off on April 10.
The Storm did however pull several players, including Queensland Origin centre Brenko Lee, from feeder club duties last week after the detection of positive COVID-19 cases in Brisbane.
Lee was due to return from a calf injury via the second-tier competition, and given he hasn’t played top-flight football since last November, is expected to be kept on ice for at least another week.