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Broncos cleared to play as probe continues

The Brisbane players who enjoyed a pub lunch in a possible biosecurity breach have been cleared to train and play on Saturday but sanctions could still be enforced as the NRL investigation continues.

Queensland police on Thursday concluded their own probe into the Broncos’ August 1 pub visit, stating the players had not breached any general public health directions.

It’s understood the NRL is waiting on Everton Park Hotel CCTV footage that could reveal a breach of the code’s additional health measures, designed to ensure the competition marches on.

Queensland-based players, who hadn’t played in Sydney in the past 14 days, were allowed to dine at cafes and restaurants but not attend pubs.

However, restaurants within pubs were okayed, as long as players remained within that area and seated at a table with their own group.

Given the incident occurred nearly two weeks ago, players who visited the pub will have a COVID-19 test.

But they will not be required to enter a COVID-19 hold like their coach Anthony Seibold, trainer Allan Langer or forward Tevita Pangai Jnr, who are all quarantined after separate incidents in the last week.

Interim NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the biosecurity assessment had been finalised but the integrity unit’s investigation was ongoing.

“We are conducting a detailed investigation to ensure we have all available evidence before determining the need for sanctions,” he said.

“It is important we have all the facts and evidence before making a decision,” he said.

“Right from the start of this pandemic we have made it clear if protocols are breached players and officials will face strong sanctions.”

Thursday’s announcement ensures the club can field a team to face Canberra on Saturday, when the embattled Broncos will look to register just a second win from their last 12 games.

Now out of the finals race, acting coach Peter Gentle said his side had other motivations to remain compliant.

“They love playing footy and we’ve still got a lot to play for; Darius (Boyd) has got seven games left in a wonderful career,” he said.

“If you can’t put in a good effort each week for him you might as well not put the jersey on.

“They’re right behind him and want to send him out as best they can … we’re not going to be throwing the towel in.”

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