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Brisbane Broncos’ pub trip did not breach public health guidelines, Queensland police say



The Brisbane Broncos did not breach Queensland’s coronavirus restrictions by going to a pub on August 1, police said today.

Queensland police released a statement saying they had finished their investigation into the Broncos’ trip to the Everton Park Hotel and “found no breach of the Chief Health Officer’s public health directions”.

The NRL is still investigating as to whether the Broncos who attended broke the league’s restrictions.

The club said on Wednesday that the players thought they were allowed to go to the pub at the time because their hard lockdown, in place for 14 days after Queensland teams return from Sydney, had ended the night before.

“The players were of the understanding that lunch at the hotel was permissible under the more-relaxed restrictions which they were under at the time,” a statement read.

“The club has been working closely with the NRL and provided a range of information as requested, and is awaiting a determination.”

Brisbane has had a series of run-ins with the NRL’s coronavirus protocols in the past week.

On Friday, three assistant coaches were forced to isolate after attending a private party in Brisbane, the next day coach Anthony Seibold had to go into two weeks of quarantine after staying in Sydney overnight because of “a serious family matter”, and on Sunday it was revealed that star forward Tevita Pangai Jr had breached the Broncos’ bubble to go to the opening of a friend’s barber shop.

Pangai Jr was fined $30,000 and stood down indefinitely for the breach.

More to come.



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South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett under NRL investigation over lunch at restaurant in potential breach of COVID-19 protocols



The NRL is investigating South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett over a potential breach of the league’s COVID-19 protocols with a visit to an Italian restaurant in Sydney.

Bennett told reporters on Thursday that he and his partner had lunch at Grappa restaurant in Leichhardt on Wednesday.

Under the rules, players and staff members of each club are not allowed to attend public places like pubs, clubs, restaurants or cafes.

Bennett took his Rabbitohs side for training before speaking to the media.

South are due to face Bennett’s former team the Brisbane Broncos at the Olympic stadium in Sydney on Friday night.

“I went for lunch yesterday at Grappa yesterday, I did,” Bennett told a press conference.

“If [I’d known] it was a breach I wouldn’t have done it. I didn’t think it was a breach. I went there with my partner who I live with.”

The Souths coach said he had not been contacted yet by the NRL Integrity Unit.

Asked about the potential that he might have to self-isolate and miss the game against the Broncos, Bennett said: “If that’s what happens, that’s their [the NRL’s] call.”

Bennett said it was hard to keep track of the rules surrounding COVID-19.

“The rules have changed that many times about what we can do and can’t do,” he said.

“We’re totally confused about what we can and can’t do.”

The coach acknowledged there “could have been one or two other times” when he went to restaurants since the start of the bubble.

Asked when was the last time he had been told about the NRL’s rules, Bennett recalled a conversation with players and coaches a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m confident I do know the rules, I just went out for lunch yesterday,” he said.

Pressed on his understanding of the protocols, Bennett replied: “I’m still allowed to eat, aren’t I?”.

More to come.



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 439 COVID-19 cases, introduces stage 4 lockdown breach penalties


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The new penalties come after a police officer was allegedly assaulted after she approached a woman who wasn’t wearing a mask.

“After a confrontation and being assaulted by that woman, those police officers went to ground and there was a scuffle,” Chief Commissioner Shane Patten said.

“And during that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground. That behaviour is just totally unacceptable.”

The state will also deploy a further 250 police officers towards monitoring the lockdown.

Premier Daniel Andrews said more than 3000 doorknocks have now been completed and on more than 800 occasions people were not home as required.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said a minority of people were knowingly doing the wrong thing and putting people’s lives at risk.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s unacceptable. And it is dangerous. That’s why we’ve put in place extraordinary powers,” Ms Neville said.

There are 456 Victorians in hospital with COVID-19, 38 of them in intensive care, Mr Andrews said.

“I’m sad to have to inform you that there are now 147 people who have died as a result of this global pandemic,” he said.

Ms Neville said in the 48 hours since the curfew started, there had been dozens of people who had decided they didn’t need to abide by it. She said police issued another 161 fines yesterday.

“So, somebody who decided they were bored and they were going to go out for a drive, somebody who decided that they needed to buy a car after 8pm last night, drive across the city of Melbourne and we’ve also seen people who have picked up people from other households, again breaching the direction and then also briefing the curfew,” Ms Neville said.

Mr Andrews also outlined new rules for workers when the new stage four restrictions start at 11.59 pm on Wednesday.

Mr Andrews said employees working in permitted industries who cannot work from home would be required to carry a new ‘worker permit’ when travelling to and from work.

“Employers will be required to issue signed permits to their employees to allow them to attend a workplace – to prevent people trying to get around the tough new restrictions,” a government statement said.

More to come

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AFL journalist Mitch Cleary resumes job after being stood down for tweeting photo of Brooke Cotchin’s COVID-19 breach



Journalist Mitch Cleary’s job has been reinstated by AFL Media after he was stood down for tweeting an image of the since-deleted Brooke Cotchin Instagram post which ended up earning Richmond a $45,000 fine.

The Instagram post, made by Richmond captain Trent Cotchin’s wife, showed a day spa which Brooke Cotchin attended for a facial — a breach of the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols for family members who are living in Queensland hubs. $25,000 of the fine has been suspended.

Cleary, who also works for ABC Grandstand, was due to work for AFL.com.au at the weekend but was stood down on Friday.

The AFL released a statement this afternoon saying it made the decision because Cleary had failed to follow editorial advice.

But it said Cleary had returned to work with AFL Media this afternoon.

“Last week, AFL Media (afl.com.au) made an editorial decision to not name any family members relating to the recent club breaches of the Return to Play protocols,” the statement read.

“The reasoning behind this decision was to protect the wellbeing of all individuals involved, a message that was reiterated in the official AFL Media Statement on Friday afternoon.

“Mitch mistakenly did not follow his department’s editorial decision and named a family member on his own personal Twitter channel on Friday evening.

“Upon speaking to his editor and then realising his tweet was at odds with AFL Media’s editorial decision, Mitch immediately removed his tweet and has acknowledged it was a mistake on his behalf.

“The matter has now been resolved internally, with Mitch today co-hosting the weekly show AFL Exchange on afl.com.au.”

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Earlier, Brooke Cotchin said she disagreed with the AFL’s decision to stand Cleary down.

“I don’t know Mitch Cleary, but I do not agree with him being stood down and I have voiced that to the AFL,” she posted on social media.

“It is his job and it does not help anyone’s situation especially in current circumstances. Unfortunately I had no input and it is something that is out of my control.”

She also revealed she and her husband would pay the fine and not Richmond football club.

“This was my mistake which I accept total responsibility for,” she wrote.

The AFL’s decision to stand Cleary down had sparked a media storm.

Cleary began to trend on Twitter after the story appeared in the Herald Sun on Sunday night. Former Melbourne footballer Brad Green labelled the AFL “bullies”.

“The AFL is a laughing stock, bullies,” Green tweeted.

Collingwood football legend Tony Shaw publicly asked the AFL’s chief executive Gillon McLachlan to reverse his decision.

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Collingwood President Eddie McGuire also weighed in on his Triple M breakfast show on Monday morning.

“They have no problem telling us they’re independent when they’re shredding players, clubs and officials,” he said.

“This is going to have some ramifications down the track on what the AFL Media department is all about.”



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Australian News

AFL journalist Mitch Cleary’s job in limbo after he tweeted photo of Brooke Cotchin’s coronavirus breach



AFL Media journalist Mitch Cleary’s job remains in limbo after he was stood down for tweeting an image of the since-deleted Brooke Cotchin Instagram post which ended up earning Richmond a $45,000 fine.

The Instagram post, made by Richmond captain Trent Cotchin’s wife, showed a day spa which Brooke Cotchin attended for a facial — a breach of the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols for family members who are living in Queensland hubs. $25,000 of the fine has been suspended.

Cleary, who also works for ABC Grandstand, was due to work for AFL.com.au at the weekend but was stood down on Friday.

The ABC understands that AFL Media — the media arm of the AFL’s business which is funded by the league — has yet to inform Cleary of the length of the standdown period.

The AFL’s decision sparked a media storm and Cleary began to trend on Twitter after the story appeared in the Herald Sun on Sunday night. Former Melbourne footballer Brad Green labelled the AFL “bullies”.

“The AFL is a laughing stock, bullies,” Green tweeted.

Collingwood football legend Tony Shaw publicly asked the AFL’s chief executive Gillon McLachlan to reverse his decision.

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Collingwood President Eddie McGuire also weighed in on his Triple M breakfast show on Monday morning.

“They have no problem telling us they’re independent when they’re shredding players, clubs and officials,” he said.

“This is going to have some ramifications down the track on what the AFL Media department is all about.”



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Australian News

Watsons Bay Hotel fined for social distancing breach


Sydney’s iconic Watsons Bay Hotel has copped a hefty fine after it was caught not following social distancing rules properly.

The eastern suburbs pub was hit with a $5000 infringement after authorities conducted a spot check and noticed it had failed to create a safe environment for customers on Friday night.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates here

Patrons were standing and drinking and gaming machines were not spaced out, according to Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Undercover officers attended the hotel on July 31 and observed that all gaming machines were operational — meaning there was no way there could be 1.5m between gaming machines.

This was contrary to the venue’s COVID Safety Plan, which stated “every second machine has been disabled in the gaming room”.

Patrons were also sighted seated less than 1.5m apart.

Acting Director of Compliance for Liquor and Gaming NSW Dimitri Argeres said 15 venues had been fined in the past three weeks.

“While most venues are making serious efforts to comply with all the conditions, it’s disappointing that some are simply not getting the message,” Mr Argeres said.

“Flouting these measures is not only bad for the health and safety of patrons; it’s also bad for business.”

It’s not the only place struggling to adhere to social distancing; yesterday images emerged of packed trains and platforms at Town Hall station.

One image showed a carriage of passengers crammed together on a service to Bondi Junction — an area near Potts Point, a COVID-19 hotspot.



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Couple fined, ordered to attend court over quarantine breach


A couple who filmed themselves refusing coronavirus compliance checks from police have been slapped with fines and ordered to attend court.

The man and woman, from Kiama on the south coast of NSW, posted a video to Facebook of themselves berating a police officer who was trying to conduct a compliance check after they’d returned from Victoria.

The video showed the 36-year-old man and 37-year-old woman refusing to open the door for the officer and asking to see his “business card” and his “insurance policy”.

When the officer questioned why he would need to provide that, the man replies: “We’re going to go after you for trespassing on our lot”.

The police officer then tells them that they can make a complaint to their local station, but the male says: “I don’t want to complain to the police station, I want to complain to you.”

The male occupant then tells the police officer: “I‘m going to go after you personally. Not the NSW Police”.

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RELATED: Anti-masker confronts cops after fine

In a statement, Lake Illawarra Police said the couple returned to NSW from Victoria on July 12 with their two children and were made aware of their requirements to self-isolate for 14 days at home.

Police conducted compliance checks at the Kiama address on July 14, July 15 and July 21 and provided information about self-isolation requirements on each occasion.

It’s alleged the couple, who were required to remain at their home with their two children until July 26, left the home on several occasions between July 20 and July 22.

The matter was reported to police and an investigation was commenced.

Following inquiries, police confirmed the couple had each been fined $1000 and the man was ordered to attend court on September 23 for failing to comply with public health directions.

NSW Police issued a statement after the video surfaced, explaining the officer had been acting as“part of proactive compliance operations” to check the occupants were fulfilling ”self-isolation requirements”.

“The officer announced his office to the occupants of the home – a 36-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman – who refused to provide details or respond to COVID-compliance questions,” a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

“After numerous failed attempts to obtain basic information, the officer left the home and reported the incident to his supervisor.

“Police will continue to conduct proactive visits to homes and businesses throughout the Illawarra – and across the state – to ensure compliance with all orders under the Public Health Act.”



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Sleeping Victorian arrested in South Australia for coronavirus breach


A sleeping Victorian man was arrested in South Australia on Friday afternoon for allegedly breaching coronavirus directions.

The man was found a car parked near a cemetery at Renmark, a town near the Victorian border.

A member of the public flagged down a police patrol to report a suspicious vehicle parked near the cemetery at Renmark West.

Police found the man sleeping in the car. Checks revealed he had been refused entry to South Australia about 2.30am that morning.

The 39-year-old man from Victoria was arrested and charged with failing to comply with COVID-19 directions.

He was refused police bail and was taken to the Adelaide City Watch House. He is expected to appear in court via video link on Monday.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates

RELATED: Military confronting Victorians at home

It’s the latest in a number of arrests related to border control. Earlier in the week, three Victorians were arrested in Adelaide after claiming they needed to cross the border for emergency medical treatment.

Another three men tried to stow away on a train from Victoria to Adelaide.

Two Adelaide men were also arrested after being accused of speeding through a border crossing.



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Jofra Archer fined but allowed to play England’s next Test against West Indies after coronavirus breach



England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been fined and given an official warning for breaching the team’s biosecurity protocols, but is free to play the third Test against the West Indies.

Both teams are under strict restrictions to allow the series to go ahead safely.

Archer breached the measures when he stopped at his house during the drive from Southampton to Manchester between Tests.

He came into contact with a person outside the teams’ bubble at the house and was dropped for the second Test, announcing the decision hours before the start of the match at Old Trafford on Thursday.

“Following a disciplinary hearing held on Friday evening … Archer has been fined an undisclosed amount and received an official written warning after admitting to breaching the team’s bio-secure protocols on Monday 13 July when he made an unauthorised visit to his home in Hove,” the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said.

ECB director of cricket Ashley Giles said Archer’s mistake could have cost the board “tens of millions” of pounds but England vice-captain Ben Stokes said the team would be there to support the player.

Giles headed Archer’s disciplinary hearing, which was also attended by the player’s agent and a representative from the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

Barbados-born Archer will remain in self-isolation for five days and will undergo two COVID-19 tests, which must be negative before his isolation is lifted.

The 25-year-old is expected to rejoin the England squad on Tuesday ahead of the third and final Test starting on Friday, also at Old Trafford.

Archer said he was “extremely sorry” for his actions, but the team is managing alright without him so far, with twin tons from opener Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes leading the side to a declaration on 9-469.

The West Indies were 1-32 in reply at the end of day two before day three was completely rained out.

The tourists won the first Test by four wickets.

Reuters/ABC



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Jofra Archer coronavirus breach could have cost England cricket ‘tens of millions of pounds’


Jofra Archer’s violation of biosecurity arrangements could have been a “disaster” for English cricket and ruined the summer.

Archer visited his home in Brighton on the way from Southampton, the venue of the first Test against West Indies, to Manchester, venue of the second, in a breach of the England cricket team’s strict biosecurity protocols.

Ashley Giles, director of men’s cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board, said Archer’s trip could have had a catastrophic financial impact.

“The ripple effect this could have had through the whole summer could have cost us tens of millions of pounds,” Giles said.

“The potential knock-on effect I don’t think he could have understood. A lot is at stake — this match, this series, this summer and, financially, things much bigger beyond that.”

Archer will now start five days of isolation and will undergo two tests for COVID-19 during this period. Archer has to test negative before his self-isolation period is lifted.

England cricket captain Joe Root talks to fast bowler Jofra Archer
Joe Root will not be able to call upon Jofra Archer during this Test.(AP: Mark Baker)

The Barbados-born paceman said he was “extremely sorry” for his lapse of judgement.

“I have put not only myself but the whole team and management in danger,” Archer said.

The third and final Test, also being played in Manchester, begins on July 24.

England said the West Indies were satisfied with the measures imposed on Archer. The teams are playing in isolated environments this series because of the coronavirus pandemic and players have been given strict orders to follow so they don’t leave the bubble.

England players made the 362-kilometre trip to Southampton by car, rather than on a team bus, and were told not to make any detours.

Yet Archer chose to travel east to his home in Brighton, which is also on the south coast and about a two-hour drive from Southampton, instead of going directly to Manchester.

Archer’s decision to return home could have jeopardised the whole series if, for example, his detour had only been discovered during the second Test and he had mixed with other players.

“He’s a young man and he’s made a bad judgment call,” England coach Chris Silverwood said after the first day’s play in Manchester.

“He’s got five days in a hotel room now.”

Speaking as England’s stand-in captain before the first Test, allrounder Ben Stokes said any player getting one thing wrong “might blow this whole ‘getting sport back onto the radar’ further back.”

England is now without arguably its most important bowler as it looks to bounce back from losing the first Test on a dramatic final day at the Rose Bowl.

Jofra Archer points his right index finger to the sky while running.
Jofra Archer took 3-45 in the second innings at the Rose Bowl off the back of a brutal opening spell.(AP: Jon Super – file photo)

“It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised,” Archer said. “I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry.”

England did not announce a replacement for Archer in an enlarged squad that has been together for the past three weeks.

“There will be a disciplinary process to go through. It will be handled internally. Jof will learn from it. We will support him and move on. He is fine young man, incredibly polite, works hard and is a great asset to this team. On this occasion he got it wrong.”

England made a steady start on the first day’s play at Old Trafford, reaching 3-207 off the back of an unbeaten 86 from opener Dom Sibley and 59 from Ben Stokes.

On a low-scoring day, Sibley ground out his 86 runs over the course of 253 balls, scoring just four boundaries.

The West Indies pace attack, so dangerous and effective in the opening Test at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, looked fatigued and were wayward in their delivery, but were not helped by their fielders, who dropped Sibley twice.

Off-spinner Royston Chase took the wickets of Rory Burns (15) and Zak Crawley (0) in consecutive balls either side of lunch.

AP/ABC



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