The Papua New Guinea Hunters rugby league team is staying positive despite three failed attempts to relocate to Australia.
34 players and management staff have been been in a quarantine bubble in central Port Moresby for the past 11 days as they await approval to travel to Queensland to compete in the Intrust Super Cup.
Their latest attempt was delayed when Queensland Health Authorities said the squad must complete 14 days in quarantine after one person tested positive for Covid-19.
Hunters coach Matt Church said they were doing everything they could could to minimise the risks.
“We went pretty harsh with the boys and did a bubble within a bubble exercise this week in light of the positive case,” he said.
“We wanted to make sure that we condensed our group into smaller groupings so that if someone did test positive then we could then isolate that group...and not affect the whole group moving forward.”
Church, who had not seen his Brisbane-based family since early November, acknowledged it was a tough situation for the players, who were staying in a central location where friends and family could still walk past and see them, even though the facility was fenced off.
“I think it will actually be easier once we get to Queensland because they know that they'll be away from friends and family,” he said.
“At the moment being so close to friends and family it's tempting to want to not be in isolation and I'm sure that it would be tough”
layers were still able to train together in their designated groups, with security guards allowing access to and from their training ground at the National Football Stadium, which was in partial lockdown with hygiene measures being strictly enforced.
The Hunters squad will undergo a third round of Covid-19 testing on Thursday and, all going well, are scheduled to fly to Brisbane on Sunday before spending 14 days in managed hotel isolation.
However plans for a long-awaited hit-out before their opening round clash against Wynnum Manly on 20 March are set to be scrapped.
“Our only remaining option would be to play a trial on that weekend of the 13th of March and I'd be reluctant to throw them (into that) after for the most part not being able to do any contact training for a month," Church said.
“Coming out of that [quarantine] two weeks before a competition starts is also not idea but we can't control that now.
“We just have to control how we approach it and hopefully we're all bundling full of energy after going through this experience and looking forward to getting out on the field.”.
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS
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