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Aitken, Curran isolating for two weeks after being on Virgin flight

Warriors players Euan Aitken and Josh Curran are set to miss the next two rounds after being forced into isolation for 14 days.

They were passengers on a Virgin Australia flight on Saturday night from the Gold Coast to Sydney in which a cabin crew member has since tested positive to COVID-19.

Another four Warriors players are also in isolation pending the results of COVID-19 tests for Aitken and Curran as they are considered casual contacts.

If the pair test negative, their four teammates will be available for next weekend’s match against St George Illawarra but Aitken and Curran have been told to isolate for two weeks regardless of their results.

The Warriors are due to play the Dragons at Central Coast Stadium next Friday before travelling to Kogarah on Sunday, July 11 to face Cronulla.

"They are in isolation regardless of their test results, and the other four guys are also in isolation until the results come back," Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

That is a problem for us in terms of player availability for the next few games.

Cameron George

"They can then go back to normal if they are negative but Euan and Josh, regardless of their results, are in isolation for two weeks so that is a problem for us in terms of player availability for the next few games."

Curran had been visiting family on the Gold Coast during the NRL bye weekend, while Aitken was having a break away from the team’s Central Coast base.

Aitken had initially been due to depart the Gold Coast on Saturday morning but his flight was cancelled and he was moved to the same 1.30pm flight as Curran, which had a crew member who later tested positive.

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The flight attendant had worked on interstate flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast on Friday and Saturday, and all passengers, including Aitken and Curran, are considered close contacts.

"The guys haven’t done anything wrong, they just happened to be on that flight and they now need to work through that now, and understand what that means," George said.

"They were due to come back for training today and unfortunately for Euan his flight was cancelled, so he got pushed on to this flight, which happened to be the flight that the infectious crew member was working on.

"Because the guys share apartments, the other four players are considered casual contacts and have had to go into isolation until the test results come back.

"We are hoping and praying that they are negative because that will at least allow those guys to come back to training."

The Warriors had been scheduled to return to New Zealand last week and prepare for their first game at Mt Smart Stadium since 2019 against the Dragons but concerns about border closures delayed the team’s homecoming.

With the current COVID-19 outbreak in NSW, the trans-Tasman travel bubble has been paused – although Warriors players and other Kiwis in the NRL, including Shaun Johnson, have been able to return from New Zealand on the weekend.

"We would have been back for four days and then the NRL would have said we can’t get the Dragons over there, so you have got to come back now," George said.

"It just goes to show that we made the right decision and at least it has provided us with some stability."

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The Warriors are due to host Canterbury in their first home match on August 15, with the match at Mt Smart Stadium expected to be a sell-out.

From next week, Sydney clubs are set to play games in empty stadiums, teams will use charter flights for interstate travel and players will revert to strict bubble conditions after the NSW Government announced a lockdown until July 9.

The stay at home orders for Greater Sydney also forced all members of the NSW squad to undergo COVID-19 tests in Brisbane ahead of Sunday's Origin, while officials are considering moving Game III from Stadium Australia.

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Players at the NRL's nine Sydney clubs, as well as the Central Coast-based Warriors, are now under the same COVID-19 biosecurity protocols they endured when the 2020 Telstra Premiership resumed on May 28 last year.

No crowds will be allowed at games in Greater Sydney until the order is lifted, while other stadiums in NSW will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.

It is unclear what affect the stay at home order for Greater Sydney will have on the next State of Origin at Stadium Australia on July 14, as the lockdown is due to be lifted five days earlier.

Newcastle, Canberra or an interstate venue are set to be considered.

Two more Bulldogs players, Sione Katoa and Corey Waddell, were sent for COVID-19 tests on Saturday.

The Bulldogs confirmed that Katoa and Waddell attended the Royal Hotel in Bondi last Sunday with Dylan Napa, Brandon Wakeham and Aaron Schoupp, with that trio having since returned negative tests for COVID-19.

The hotel was attended by a person who has tested positive to COVID-19.

Canterbury's squad will not train until the test results of all players are known. 

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