Broncos players and staff test positive for COVID-19: report

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Brisbane's return to training this week will be hampered with players and staff testing positive for COVID-19.

Case numbers in Queensland have ballooned in recent weeks following border openings and the Christmas-New Year period - and it hasn't spared the Brisbane Broncos, with the club confirming sixteen of 38 players have tested positive along with three staff in the football department.

The club released the following statement on Thursday morning:

The Brisbane Broncos have finalised COVID testing ahead of the squad's return to training this morning.

Sixteen of the 38 players due to train today have returned positive tests, as well as three staff members in the Football Department.

They are presently obeying the Queensland Government's health and safety protocols and are isolating at home for the mandatory seven-day period.

Following isolation, they will be able to return if they have not shown symptoms for the previous 48 hours.

Once cleared, they will return to train at the Club under the NRL's Graduated Return to Play guidelines.

All Broncos players and football staff have been double vaccinated. Brisbane Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy said, "Our main concern is the health, safety and wellbeing of our players and staff, and we are fully focused on ensuring they are looked after while isolating.

"The COVID testing measures are in place to protect our people and our program and these results show that the system is working.

"These cases have been picked up early, allowing us to deal with them promptly and effectively, and then move forward with our pre-season.

"We've taken a proactive approach to managing this challenge, which will have many turns over the coming season. Our goal as a club is to tackle each challenge as they arise.

"As the spread of COVID grows across the community, we will continue to work closely with our players, staff, the NRL and the Queensland Government." 

Brisbane aren't alone - several Sydney NRL clubs are reported to have large positive result counts upon returning to training, including Penrith who confirmed as much yesterday.

The positive cases come as the NRL moves to increase its protocols for players ahead of returns to training, pre-season matches and the premiership season which kicks off just over two months from now on March 10.