Friday night’s press conference at 4 Pines Park was thrown into chaos after a positive Covid-19 RAT test was found in the venue’s designated media room.
The Parramatta Eels defeated the Manly Sea Eagles 36-20 in Round 21, with winger Maika Sivo scoring a brace for the guests.
But after the final siren, Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans decided not to conduct a post-match press conference after reporters discovered a positive RAT cartridge in the media room.
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The interview with Sea Eagles manager Des Hasler went on as planned, but Eel’s mentor Brad Arthur played it safe and conducted his press conference in the hallway outside the bathrooms.
Meanwhile, Parramatta players have refused to give post-match interviews to avoid any risk of being exposed to the deadly virus.
News Corp’s Martin Gabor tweeted, “Drama at 4 Pines Park. A positive RAT was found in the post-match press conference room. Des Hasler held the press conference but the DCE played it safe. The eels are concerned and it looks like their presser will be delayed and moved. “
AAP’s Scott Bailey posted: “Absolutely chaotic scenes in Brookvale. Positive RAT cartridge located in the designated press conference room. None of the reporters behind. The DCE gave up the presser while Brad Arthur moved his winger and consequently no Eels player spoke.
The positive RAT test was later removed by an NRL officer. It is not clear where the cartridge came from.
It was a back and forth affair at 4 Pines Park on Friday, with Manly leading 20-14 after half-time.
But the Eels’ comeback started spectacularly when winger Waqa Blake, playing his 150th game, dived into the corner to score a stunning try in the 55th minute.
Clinging to a perfectly direct close pass from young teammate Jakob Arthur, the Eels flyer leapt and somehow managed to land the ball with his knees just inches off the turf in touch.
It turned out to be the turning point for the Eels, who scored three tries in the finale to wipe out the Sea Eagles and leave Manly’s season alive.
“It was a great time, wasn’t it?” Eel coach Arthur told reporters after the 16-point win.
“It really brought us back to hunting. Also good for Jake’s trust.
“Really happy for Waqa, he’s the kind of player who doesn’t get a lot of accolades but for us he competes in every competition. He has had injuries in the last two years, but he always works hard to get back on the pitch. “
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Sea Eagles are now four points off the top eight in 10th place in the NRL rankings, while the Eels have moved up to fifth with 28 points in the competition.
Originally released as “Scene Shambolic”: positive test cartridge for Covid-19 throws NRL press conference into chaos