Temperatures rise over NRL’s ‘weird’ headphone ban
NRL players have been banned from using headphones as they arrive at grounds for matches.
The over-ear headphones have become as important as a final message from the coach for players as part of their pre-game ritual.
But players have been told they cannot wear headphones at least 30 minutes before having their temperatures checked when they arrive at venues.
The headphones join hot baths and showers on the banned list because they could "affect temperature readings".
Any temperature reading of 37.3C or more will stop the player from entering the stadium.
Newcastle back-rower Sione Mata'utia said Knights players were shocked when told of the move.
"There wouldn't be any player without headphones," Mata'utia said. "When we get to the games, we still listen to them and I know some people listen to them all the way to the warm-up.
"When we heard, we thought it was a joke but the coach (Adam O'Brien) reiterated that it was serious and these are the new protocols. I was like 'wow, it is pretty serious'. It's going to be weird."
Clubs will be monitored by their "COVID cop". Captain's runs at venues have also been banned.
And there are changes to teams' bus rides. The Knights, whose three-hour journey to Campbelltown on Sunday is the longest commute of the weekend, will need to ensure the front two rows of the bus are empty to avoid being close to the driver.
Seating of players and staff on the bus must be spread out as much as possible to maintain social-distancing requirements.
The NRL is working on another biosecurity document which it hopes will allow fans into the game. It will include spacing between patrons and the potential for everyone to have their temperature checked with an infra-red thermometer.
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Originally published as Temperatures rise over NRL's 'weird' headphone ban