Wests Tigers star Joey Leilua has broken the NRL’s coronavirus biosecurity bubble for personal reasons just before an important game.
Leilua took leave to join his extended family in Canberra, the club confirmed on Thursday.
It’s unknown exactly why Leilua left the bubble, and his return for the rest of the season also hangs in the balance.
He was set to play centre against the Bulldogs on Sunday but will not be available.
Wests Tigers star Joey Leilua took leave to join his extended family in Canberra, the club confirmed on Thursday. Pictured with his partner Tiana
It’s unknown exactly why Leilua left the bubble, and his return for the rest of the season also hangs in the balance. Pictured with sons and partner Tiana
The 28-year-old will be required to quarantine for two weeks after breaching NRL protocols.
‘Having voluntarily left the club’s bubble, Leilua will be placed in a temporary COVID hold as per NRL guidelines. Wests Tigers have informed the Project Apollo Group and will await further advice after consideration of all circumstances,’ the Wests Tigers’ statement said.
Leilua had only been back with the Wests Tigers for a week after serving a four-week suspension for his brutal ‘coathanger’ hit on Panthers star Dylan Edwards.
The NRL’s coronavirus biosecurity bubble has been broken nine times in just four days.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys warned players who breach protocols will be hit with harsher punishments.
‘We will increase financial penalties to act as a deterrent because these people are being selfish,’ Mr V’Landys said.
‘It’s concerning because the whole competition is at stake.’
It comes after Broncos star Tevita Pangai Jnr was banned for two matches for breaching the code’s COVID-19 protocols by visiting a barber shop caught up in a police raid.
Pangai Jnr was stood down after he attended a friend’s barber shop on Saturday, just hours after returning from Sydney following his side’s loss against the Rabbitohs.
It’s understood police task force Maxima raided the Black Canvas Southside barber shop espresso bar in Windaroo south of Brisbane while Pangai Jr was in attendance.
The raid found any unlawful activity and there is no suggestion Pangai Jr did anything illegal.
The club confirmed the Tongan international has been stood down for 14 days after breaching Project Apollo protocols.
Broncos star Tevita Pangai Jnr (pictured right with Wallabies star Quade Cooper) was banned for two matches for breaching the code’s strict COVID-19 protocols