NRL legends Corey Parker and Cooper Cronk have come down hard on Jai Arrow, after the Maroons forward contravened the NRL’s Covid-19 protocols by bringing a woman into Queensland’s Origin camp.
News of Arrow’s misdemeanour broke on Thursday, with the NRL moving swiftly to fine the 25-year-old $35,000 and ban him for two games.
In addition, he has been relieved of his Origin duties for Game III, leaving camp immediately to spend 14 days in isolation at home.
Parker and Cronk, who played 41 Origin games for Queensland between them, unleashed on Arrow following his breach.
“My first reaction was, how stupid? How stupid can you be?” Parker told NRL Tonight.
“You’re pulling on a Maroons jersey, you’re pulling on a Maroons jersey and in my opinion you’re showing disrespect to that jersey by the fact you’ve put yourself before the team.
“That’s the most disappointing thing.
“I’ve got no doubt the people that are pulling on those Queensland jerseys, if you ask them what Queensland means to them it would be everything. The difference between what it means to you and what you show in your actions, they’re two different things.”
"It's arrogant, it's selfish" 😡 Cronk on Jai Arrow suspension.#NRLManlyRaiders
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Cronk was just as incredulous. The four-time Premiership winner found it difficult to believe a player would choose to disregard the league’s Covid-19 protocols just days after 13 Dragons players were fined a collective $305,000 for holding an unsanctioned party.
“Seriously, not even a week after the hysteria around Paul Vaughan and the Dragons and what happened, people can’t read a paper or watch the TV without (seeing that),” Cronk told Fox League.
“I think the two-game suspension is light. He probably should have got another two for stupidity.
“After everything the Dragons have been through … Jai Arrow knew what he was doing and blatantly disregarded the rules.
“He’s put the game, the competition, all in jeopardy because of his selfish actions.”
In a statement released Thursday night, NRL CEO Andrew Abdo also condemned Arrow’s actions.
“In our view this is a clear breach of our biosecurity protocols, Jai has been placed into isolation from the squad and will return home to Sydney,’’ he said.
“There are no excuses for breaching the protocols, they are our licence to continue playing – players have to comply, or we will all face the consequences.
“I want to be very clear, any material deliberate repeat offence by a player will result in us removing that player from the approved bubble roster.”
Flegler will likely make his Origin debut in Game III. Pics Tara Croser.Source:News Corp Australia
Arrow’s omission from the Maroons side will likely push Thomas Flegler off the extended bench to make his Origin debut.
Following lacklustre showings in the first two games of the series, Queensland will hope to bounce back in Game III and avoid succumbing to an Origin whitewash for the first time since 2000.
The Maroons are already having to contend without Titans wrecking ball David Fifita, after he was suspended for dangerous contact in round 16.
The third game of the triptych has been relocated from Sydney to Newcastle amid the Harbour City’s Covid-19 outbreak.
It will be the first ever Origin fixture held in Newcastle and will make the 2021 series the first in history to feature two games played outside of Australian state capitals.
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