Koroisau banned as breach endangers NRL

·3-min read

Api Koroisau has apologised to the NRL and his family after he was banned for two games for a biosecurity breach that prompted Queensland Health officials to warn they are close to kicking players out of the state.

Koroisau was on Friday night hit hard by the NRL for inviting a woman into NSW State of Origin camp, suspended immediately and rubbed out of Penrith's clash with Brisbane on Saturday.

But the reality is the implications could have been far worse, with the incident another hit to the delicate relationship between the Queensland Government and NRL that is keeping the competition going.

It also follows vision of NRL families quarantining in Queensland hotels passing food to each other on balconies, breaching government protocols that were enacted late on Wednesday night.

The NRL has been granted exemptions to continue the competition in Queensland based on assurances players and staff follow strict protocols agreed to by the government.

But asked on Friday at what point the NRL's exemptions could be revoked, Queensland's chief medical officer Jeannette Young said: "I'm getting very close to it.

"I'm very, very concerned about what is happening with these NRL players and you would have seen that imagery of the family hotel where they were sharing goods between verandahs.

"If I have any more breaches, I am very concerned.

"It's for all of them. This is too risky. We just cannot have people deliberately breaching the rules."

It comes after the NRL was blindsided on Thursday night by a Daily Mail report claiming Koroisau twice snuck a woman into NSW Origin camp before Game II.

An integrity unit investigation was immediately launched after the NSWRL made the authority aware of the allegations.

Both the Panthers and the NRL are also providing welfare support to Koroisau's wife and family.

"I made the choice to do the wrong thing and my actions have brought shame and embarrassment to many people, especially my wife and children," Koroisau said.

"I will be forever sorry.

"I sincerely apologise to the NRL, NSWRL, Panthers, the sponsors and stakeholders, and all my teammates for letting you down.

"I apologise to the fans for putting our game at risk, particularly at such a challenging time for so many people.

"I apologise to my wife Amy for the pain I have caused. I've hurt you and the girls with my selfish, thoughtless actions."

The NRL has now fined or banned 21 players since the start of the Sydney outbreak for bubble breaches.

In a statement on Friday night, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo stressed there were now more protections in place since entering the Queensland hub to ensure bubble breaches did not occur.

"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."

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