Manly Sea Eagles player Josh Aloiai has become the first NRL player to test positive for Covid-19, which has seen his highly-anticipated fight against Paul Gallen cancelled.
Aloiai was set to square off against Gallen in Newcastle on December 10, and called in sick to a promotional photo shoot on Tuesday.
Manly confirmed Aloiai was fully vaccinated and hasn’t interacted in person with his teammates recently.
“Manly Warringah Sea Eagles can confirm NRL player Josh Aloiai has today received a positive Covid test result,” the club said on Wednesday afternoon.
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“Josh was not due to return to official team training until mid-December and has had no recent face to face contact with his Manly teammates.
“Josh is fully vaccinated and the Club is working with the NRL to ensure he follows NSW Health Orders and NRL protocols over the coming weeks.”
The NRL has not mandated the vaccine, meaning the 29-year-old is free to play under league regulations.
Fox Sports understands Wests Tigers discard Joey Leilua, who was training with Aloiai and due to fight on the card, may have tested positive several days ago.
Aloiai received a positive result on Wednesday morning.
Leilua was scheduled to fight Chris Heighington on the undercard in Newcastle.
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Organisers hopeful of rescheduling the fight night for later in December.
But Leilua is unlikely to appear at a postponed event as he just signed with English side Featherstone and was set to fly out after the bout.
Foxsports.com.au contacted Manly regarding the vaccination status of its players last month.
“All players are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and the club will provide and assist in any medical advice,” the club said.
Sea Eagles utility Dylan Walker reluctantly received the vaccine before signing a new one-year deal at the club last week.
The Panthers issued a stern warning to hooker Api Koroisau last week, outlining the “very clear consequences” if he remains unvaccinated against Covid-19.
Penrith aren’t ready to sack Koroisau but will fine him heavily and have reminded the representative player how his absence will impact the team.
The Bulldogs issued recruit John Asiata a letter of termination last week due to his refusal to be vaccinated.
Asiata recently signed a one-year deal with the Canterbury side, but the 28-year-old said he’d rather work on a construction site than get jabbed.