Penrith hooker Api Koroisau has been suspended for two matches over a biosecurity bubble breach during the State of Origin series.
He’ll serve the suspension immediately which means he’ll miss tomorrow night’s game against Brisbane and next weekend’s blockbuster against Melbourne.
Koroisau has also been fined $35,000.
“In issuing the proposed penalty, the NRL has taken into account that the alleged breach took place prior to more recent breaches, including before a group of St George Illawarra Dragons players breached NSW Public Health orders and before Queensland Player Jai Arrow breached the game’s biosecurity protocols. It also takes into account the alleged breach was shortly after an upgrade in biosecurity protocols,” the NRL said in a statement.
It’s alleged Koroisau attended the hotel room of an individual who was not part of the team’s biosecurity bubble on June 27.
The NRL is offering ongoing welfare support to Koroisau’s family.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the game had further increased measures to ensure compliance to protocols and Public Health Orders since Origin II.
“All club hotels, under quarantine orders, are currently fenced off from the public and patrolled by security 24 hours a day,’’ he said.
“We are taking every precaution to ensure there is no breach of the protocols and to keep the Queensland community safe.
“The environment has rapidly changed since this breach and players understand the consequences of failing to comply with the protocols.”
The Panthers issued a statement this afternoon, saying it supported the NRL’s sanction.
“Apisai has expressed genuine remorse for his actions and understands the potential ramifications of his decisions on the viability of the game,” the statement said.
“Panthers is providing the Koroisau family with all the necessary support and kindly asks the media to respect their privacy at this time.”
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.