NSW Rugby League chief executive David Trodden says concussion substitute policy ‘overwhelmingly positive’ as Blues prepare to table report on Boyd Cordner case


The policy couldn’t be be fully tested in the Canterbury Cup – the second-tier competition below NRL – after the season was abandoned following just one round due to the COVID pandemic.

But it was used in other competitions ranging from the Presidents Cup to Harold Matthews and Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership, prompting “overwhelmingly positive” feedback in its first year.

Boyd Cordner is helped from the field by Roosters and Blues trainer Travis Touma.Credit:Getty

The NSWRL also stipulate any player diagnosed with a concussion has to undertake a mandatory 14-day stand down.

“In some respects we’ve been leaders with some of the concussion protocols,” NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said. “It’s something we initiated because we thought it was a sensible protocol in the circumstances. If everybody accepts players who are diagnosed with concussion shouldn’t be on the field, then it’s perfectly logical they should be able to be replaced.

“We haven’t given the operation of the rule enough time to work out the nuances that might be associated with it, but certainly on the initial responses we’ve had the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s something we’ll continue and others might want to have a look at.”

Former Newcastle coach and now Warriors boss Nathan Brown previously led calls for the NRL to introduce a concussion substitute, a need no better evidenced than when the Rabbitohs finished a match with 12 players against the Roosters in 2019. They had four players taken from the field for head injury assessments.

The NRL will determine whether Cordner suffered a “category 1” ataxia, where a loss of muscle control or co-ordination is evident, after receiving the report from NSW. Under the code’s concussion protocols a “category 1” should immediately rule a player out of a match.

Longtime NSW doctor Nathan Gibbs defended the call for NSW’s inspirational leader to return to the field, telling the Herald Cordner “passed his orientation questions immediately and passed his HIA with no problems so I couldn’t confirm a concussion diagnosis”.

Blues legend Andrew Johns also launched a passionate defence of Brad Fittler’s medical staff.

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“We all know he [Cordner] has had [concussion] problems this year, but the people involved… Nathan Gibbs, he’s been a doctor in rugby league for around 30 years, and for people to question his integrity [is wrong],” Johns told Wide World Of Sports’ The Blueprint.

“They just need to shut their mouths. Also with the Roosters and their medical staff, they’ve been the leader in the NRL. They’ve rested players longer than any other club with their players’ concussions. If you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, shut up.”

James Tedesco will captain NSW for the first time in the absence of Cordner.

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NSW Blues boss Dave Trodden criticises Queensland over border closure


Trodden fears fans who are in the habit of attending big games may not return at all once the restrictions are lifted.

“I really hope we give them a dead rubber now,” Trodden told the Herald. “They almost deserve for it to be a dead rubber up there, don’t they?

NSWRL boss Dave Troden.Credit:NRL Photos

“We knew it was going to be difficult to get up to Queensland, but we were still hopeful that after their election there might be some relaxation [around the border restrictions] and fans could get up there.

“Rugby league has always been built on tribal rivalries. It’s important to people, and when you take away what is important to people, it’s difficult for them. Everyone understood the restrictions when there was a justifiable medical reason for them.

“But when the infection rate is so low – the few infections in NSW are from overseas travellers – it’s difficult to understand what the justifiable medical reason is now. I’m struggling to get my head around the logic of it all.

“I read the papers and watch the TV news and you hear people talk about how important tourism is to the Queensland people and their economy, and how important it is to get back to normality. But that rhetoric doesn’t match the decisions being made around the border closures.”

Next Wednesday’s opener in Adelaide will feature around 25,000 fans, with both teams to fly in and fly out on game day. ANZ Stadium will cater for 40,000 fans in game two, while Suncorp can hold just under 40,000, or 75 per cent of their capacity.

So strict are the COVID protocols north of the Tweed, all players and staff inside the Maroons bubble will need to isolate at home for a further two weeks once the series is completed and if the players reside in Queensland.

The Blues are staying at Magenta Shore on the Central Coast for the month. All 27 players will travel to Adelaide next Wednesday.

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Trodden feared the difficulties in getting fans to games could become a permanent problem.

“The bigger problem is you interrupt the culture of attending games, and the longer that interruption goes, the harder it will be to get people comfortable attending games again,” he said.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, who has been advising Palaszczuk, said on Friday all 32 local government areas (LGAs) in Sydney should be viewed as ‘coronavirus ‘hotspots”.

“There are 4.8 million people who live in those LGAs in Sydney … they are the risk, they are the ones moving around,” Young said.

The Origin series normally generates around $100m, and a softening of border restrictions would have also helped NSWRL and the Queensland Rugby League’s bottom line.

The Blues will train on Saturday with fullback James Tedesco hoping his left knee survives the main session so he can wear the No. 1 next week.

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NRL 2020: Brisbane Broncos, Anthony Seibold, social media rumours, 60 Minutes, NSW Rugby League, Dave Trodden


The NSW Rugby League employee accused of spreading rumours about axed Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is an ex-part-time referee in NSW bush footy.

According to a Sydney Morning Heraldreport, the person at the centre of Seibold’s cyber security probe is a former part-time referee and not a person of great prominence at the NRL or one of its clubs.

Seibold appeared on 60 Minutes on Sunday in which it was claimed the person implicated was a full-time NSWRL employee.

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The NRL’s integrity unit is said to be aware of the individual named, who previously held an officiating role on a part-time basis in regional NSW.



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