Gold Coast Titans chief executive Steve Mitchell has today confirmed approximately 20 players are currently isolating due to COVID-19, but insists there are plenty of positives with the current situation.
As the squad returned from the Christmas break for their first pre-season training session of 2022 on Friday, a number of players were unable to attend due to the rapid number of infections being recorded across South East Queensland.
'We're like the rest of the Coast at the moment' - Mitchell
"We're a bit like the rest of the Coast really. We've all been hit by the Omicron spread," the Titans CEO said.
"Obviously we're missing players and staff like every other business is on the Coast as we move through this wave.
"We had a less than normal size squad training today as we have quite a few away infected.
"All the players in attendance at training today is who is currently available. The rest of the guys are in their seven day isolation period.
"We've got a couple of guys who have been sick, but have passed through that and are negative now and are back training, but [the group today] is who we have available who can train."
Confirming 20 players and a number of football and administration staff are currently isolating in line with Queensland Government and NRL Apollo protocols, Mitchell said the process for players to return to training after a positive result was just like how the rest of the Gold Coast have returned to work and social life.
"They basically go into their isolation period and when they come out of that, they go through numerous testing. When they receive a negative test, they can return to the playing group and train as normal," Mitchell said.
"It's very similar to what we see in the general community and just like our sponsors, members and fans to a degree who are currently isolating away from work at the moment and will go back into general work life next week [after their seven day isolation period]."
But despite the minor setback to the beginning of the new year, Mitchell suggested there were plenty of positives to be taken out of the current scenario given the first men's pre-season trial and start of the NRLW season is still over six weeks away.
"It's such a fluid situation. I think the last two years have proven how unpredictable it is moving forward," Mitchell said.
"You can do your best to plan and make contingencies, but I think you need to be positive and keep your head up and get going again.
"I'm looking forward to a really positive season. I think we're going to be really strong.
I think from a timing point of view, to go through [the large number of infections] at this time of year as opposed to potentially in April is a really positive thing for the NRL, the game and for ourselves.
"We've got an NRLW squad now as well, so to do it in January and February is really advantageous and we're really positive going forward."
It's expected Titans NRLW players will follow similar protocols when they return to pre-season training on Monday.