Peter V’landys blocks Sydney Roosters’ bid to delay Parramatta Eels showdown after COVID scare
Tolman, along with the other 49 members of the Bulldogs’ bubble, was sent for a COVID-19 test. He returned a negative result on Sunday afternoon but will not play against the premiers.
ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys called Roosters chairman Nick Politis on Sunday morning to inform him the match would be pushed back until 7pm on Monday night.
That means the Roosters were lumped with a five-day turnaround for their next match, a blockbuster clash with the competition leaders Parramatta on Saturday night. The Eels will have had a eight-day turnaround after playing on Friday.
While Roosters coach Trent Robinson was accepting of the circumstances, the Herald has learned V’landys considered the possibility of moving the Parramatta clash to Sunday.
“We looked at that and the knock-on effect was just too much,” V’landys said.
“When you look at the effect of what that would do to the week after, one day is not going to have that great an impact.
“Especially when you consider that there is no State of Origin games this year where players back up two or three days later.”
The Roosters will now have just a five-day turnaround leading into what could eclipse the Eels’ last start win against the Panthers as the match of the season so far.
While that obviously will leave some players with additional bumps and bruises, the seven-day mandatory recovery period for concussions also means any player that fails a HIA against Canterbury will miss the clash with Parramatta.
“We can’t do much about it. It is what it is. We just have to accept the circumstances. What else can you do?” Politis said.
“I think (V’landys) spoke to Robbo about (pushing the game back one day) but there isn’t much we can do about it. We can’t take the risk. Otherwise the whole comp would collapse.
“Robbo’s answer was the same as me. We just have to accept it and move on for the good of the game, otherwise the whole thing collapses.”
The impact the Tolman scare will have on the Roosters was lost in what was another dramatic day in the NRL.
It was a manic 12 hours for V’landys. His phone lit up at 9pm last night, when he was informed of Tolman’s predicament.
A phone hook-up with the NRL’s biosecurity expert soon followed.
When the ARL Commission chairman woke up on Sunday morning, he decided he could not put either team at risk.
“Then we had a (phone) hook-up with the commission and the biosecurity expert,” V’landys said.
“Again, we went through the facts with the commission and the commission believed in accordance with our policy that we don’t take any risks with the players.
“If we went ahead and played and the Roosters players were affected, then we aren’t doing the right thing.”
While the NRL is waiting to see the results of all Bulldogs players and staff before Monday’s clash is given the green light, it is expected to go ahead after Tolman’s test came back negative.
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.