Arrow banned from Origin for COVID breach

·2-min read

Jai Arrow has been scrubbed from the third State of Origin clash after allegedly bringing a woman into the Queensland team hotel while in camp on the Gold Coast, breaching the NRL's COVID-19 rules.

The NRL has slapped the Maroons forward with a two-match ban and a proposed $35,000 fine for the breach, which has thrown the Queensland camp into turmoil ahead of Wednesday's clash in Newcastle.

The 25-year-old has been forced to leave camp and travel back to Sydney where he will have to do 14 days of home isolation.

He will also miss South Sydney's round 18 match with Canterbury.

"I know I have let a lot of people down, including my teammates, coaching staff and fans right across the rugby league community," Arrow said.

"For this I am truly sorry. I have fully cooperated with the NRL Integrity Unit, and I understand the scrutiny and criticism coming my way."

The incident has prompted the NRL to appoint 24-hour security at the team's hotel to ensure there are no more bubble breaches in the lead up to game three.

"In our view this is a clear breach of our biosecurity protocols. Jai has been placed into isolation from the squad and will return home to Sydney," NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

"There are no excuses for breaching the protocols, they are our licence to continue playing - players have to comply, or we will all face the consequences.

"I want to be very clear, any material deliberate repeat offence by a player will result in us removing that player from the approved bubble roster."

The Arrow incident comes the same week the NRL fined 13 St George Illawarra players a combined $305,000 for breaking NSW public health orders by partying at now-sacked Dragons prop Paul Vaughan's house.

It is the latest issue in a string of dramas first-time Maroons coach Paul Green has endured during this Origin series.

Injuries and health scares to key players dominated the build-up to their series opener in Townsville, before would-be debutant Ronaldo Mulitalo was ruled out on the morning of game two because of eligibility concerns.

With Francis Molo already set to replace the suspended David Fifita, Arrow's exclusion could pave the way for Brisbane prop Tom Flegler's debut.

Queensland have lost by a combined 76-6 across the first two games, putting the Blues on track to register the most dominant series sweep in Origin history.

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