Cartwright won’t back down on anti-vaxxer stance

The Gold Coast Titans believe Bryce Cartwright will not back down on his anti-vaccination stance as Peter V'landys denied the NRL had double standards around the controversial flu-jab.

The NRL remains hopeful Queensland Government officials will provide an exemption for Titans duo Brian Kelly and Cartwright to play without receiving the influenza vaccination.

Cartwright and Kelly were stood down from training on Friday to allow the NRL and government to review the flu-jab policy ahead of the May 28 season resumption.

As part of 'Project Apollo' return-to-play plans, the NRL originally informed the Queensland Government all players and staff would receive the flu vaccination.

 

The NRL was then confronted by more than 10 players who refused to receive the vaccination, prompting the game to introduce a waiver which was rejected by government officials.

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The Titans believe Bryce Cartwright will not back down on his anti-vaccination stance. Picture: AAP.
The Titans believe Bryce Cartwright will not back down on his anti-vaccination stance. Picture: AAP.

Cartwright and Kelly will not be allowed to train or play until they either accept the vaccination or are granted an exemption.

"I don't know if they will change their minds," said Titans CEO Steve Mitchell.

"Both guys want to be as informed as they can around the inoculations and they will form their own views on that and then make a decision in their own capacity.

"I have spoken to Bryce and Brian about this and made information resources available.

"I can't tell you for sure if they will stand firm, they have been stood down now and they have time to see if they want to change their minds.

"I don't think Bryce will have the shot, that's Bryce's position and we respect that. There are protocols from the state government and the NRL so Bryce is stood down from active duties until we can work through it with the relevant parties.

"Brian has some scepticism about the injection and he needs to be a little more informed. We have given Brian that information.

"He's not in a bad headspace. He wants time to discuss it and he will come back to us."

Brian Kelly has also been stood down by the NRL for refusing a flu vaccination. Picture: AAP.
Brian Kelly has also been stood down by the NRL for refusing a flu vaccination. Picture: AAP.

The vaccination drama has been an unwelcome headache for the NRL and ARL Commission chairman V'landys as the game strives to reboot the 2020 premiership in less than three weeks.

V'landys said the NRL was pleased all but two Queensland-based players had received the injection and the game wasn't playing favourites.

"There's only two guys in Queensland we have to deal with, we need to take a commonsense approach," he said.

"Because they are all in different teams, the NSW government has allowed the players to sign a waiver and the Queensland government has needed more time to think about it.

"The way the (Queensland) chief medical officer (Dr Jeannette Young) spoke the other day, I think she will be supportive of us. She was impressed that 97 per cent of the NRL playing group had received vaccinations.

"The Queensland government have been very co-operative, they have told us it's a phenomenal effort to get 97 per cent. It's hard to get 100 per cent in life in anything.

Nathan Peats agreed to receive the vaccine after being stood down by the NRL. Picture: AAP
Nathan Peats agreed to receive the vaccine after being stood down by the NRL. Picture: AAP

 

"Our NRL players as a group have shown to the rest of the community that you should go and get the flu shot.

"If the waiver is approved, they won't have to get the shot. It's not inconsistent, you have to weigh everything up and if 97 per cent of the players agree, they have been fantastic, then that's a good outcome.

"We respect that players may have some personal views and if the waiver situation is sorted out they should be allowed to continue."

All Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys players have agreed to receive the vaccination.

Originally published as Cartwright won't back down on anti-vaxxer stance



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