The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Kaiviti Silktails’ third season in the NSW Rugby League’s Ron Massey Cup before it has even begun with 21 players and staff testing positive to COVID-19 before their planned departure from Fiji to Sydney on Wednesday 5 January.
Silktails executive director Stephen Driscoll said the Ministry of Health had advised that 18 players and three staff had returned positive results for COVID-19 and would be required to self-isolate for 14 days in Fiji. The affected players are being quarantined at the team’s Centre of Excellence.
The remaining three players in the squad, who returned negative test results, are also self-isolating at home as close contacts.
Driscoll said all staff and players were double vaccinated in line with Fiji’s return-to-train protocols prior to beginning pre-season in November.
Testing was done upon return from their Xmas break with their families before departure.
Driscoll said new travel arrangements to Australia for the entire playing squad and staff would be reassessed in two weeks at the completion of the quarantine period.
Once cleared to travel to Australia they will base themselves once again at Mascot and train out of the Daceyville PCYC in newly-built facilities.
They will be training in jerseys brandishing the name Fiji Kava Kaiviti Silktails, after the local Pacific brand of health drink became the new naming rights sponsor in a three-year deal.
The Silktails’ debut season in the Ron Massey Cup in 2020 and the 2021 season were not completed due to COVID-19.