Aloiai, Leilua test positive for COVID-19

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It was confirmed on Wednesday that Manly prop Josh Aloiai and UK-bound centre Joey Leilua have become the first players in Australia to test positive for COVID-19, just weeks out from a highly-publicised boxing event.

The News Corp report suggests Aloiai - humourously known by NRL fans as 'Oshay Olay' after ARLC chair Peter V'Landys mispronounced his name on Dally M awards night in September - became ill on Monday after a gym session.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, the Sea Eagles released a statement confirming Aloiai's diagnosis, that he is fully vaccinated and has had no recent in-person contact with other members of the club's squad.

Channel 9 reported Joey Leilua - bound for UK Championship side Featherstone in 2022, after leaving the Wests Tigers at the end of this season - has also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The fight event, where Aloiai was set to face off against former Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, is likely to be rescheduled into the new year, although Aloiai's NRL commitments may hamper his ability to participate. Leilua was set to face retired Sharks and Tigers legend Chris Heighington as part of the undercard at the same event.

Elsewhere, the same paper reports that Canberra prop Josh Papali'i has told his club he will be vaccinated for COVID-19 before the season begins. It is understood he is one of four Raiders players who have thus far held out on 'getting the jab'.

In New Zealand, the Ardern Government has revealed its roadmap for relaxing travel restrictions to-and-from the 'Shaky Isles', which look to brighten the chances of the Warriors being able to return home as planned mid-2022.