Covid hits Parramatta’s NRLW squad at first day of training

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Parramatta signing Tiana Penitani goes through her paces. Picture: Eels Digital
Parramatta signing Tiana Penitani goes through her paces. Picture: Eels Digital

The inaugural Parramatta NRLW squad have hit the training paddock for the first time but it wasn’t without Covid disruptions.

Several players were deemed close contacts to positive Covid cases which meant they couldn’t attend Monday’s training session, which left more than a dozen players to train in the wet Sydney conditions.

Eels coach Dean Widders admitted it was inevitable the club will have to navigate Covid concerns for the rest of the pre-season and into the season.

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Parramatta NRLW coach Dean Widders oversees Parramatta’s first session. Picture: Eels Digital
Parramatta NRLW coach Dean Widders oversees Parramatta’s first session. Picture: Eels Digital

“Covid and all the havoc it’s causing in New South Wales is causing some issues, so we had a few players missing,” Widders said.

“We anticipate that all through the pre-season.

“It’s inevitable down here in Sydney that people are going to catch it and they’re going to have symptoms.

Parramatta signing Tiana Penitani goes through her paces. Picture: Eels Digital
Parramatta signing Tiana Penitani goes through her paces. Picture: Eels Digital

“That’s just going to play a part in our training and probably our season.

“We’ve just got to make sure we manoeuvre that and I think the NRL have done a great job with the rapid testing to make sure we combat it as best we can.”

It was high-fives all round for Parramatta NRLW playmaker Maddie Studdon at the new side's first training session. Picture: Eels Digital
It was high-fives all round for Parramatta NRLW playmaker Maddie Studdon at the new side’s first training session. Picture: Eels Digital

The Parramatta players were put through their paces on the field and in the gym as they prepare to enter the delayed 2021 NRLW season, which kicks off on February 27.

Widders said the squad wasn’t going to allow Covid to disrupt their plans and was confident in the high standards shown by the players on Monday.

“We’re off to a solid start and I thought the girls have come back well,” he said.

“We’ve got to learn to deal with this (Covid).

“We could lose players at any time, we could lose coaches at any time.

“We’ve got to be ready to roll with it and keep our standards as high as we can.

“The girls showed on Monday night that they are doing that well.”

Brisbane

Chris Honnery is a sport reporter for The Courier-Mail, covering rugby league across Queensland.

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