NRL 2021: Cronulla Sharks’ Will Chambers spent seven hours in car to save NRL seasonWill Chambers’ reveals his extraordinary story of self-isolation to try and keep the 2021 NRL season going.
David Riccio Exclusive
Will Chambers spent seven hours stuck in his car outside Shark Park — a sacrifice he says he made to keep the NRL competition going.
Provided coffee, water and salad wraps through his car window, the extraordinary story of self-isolation inside his car has emerged after the Cronulla centre was told his efforts were fruitless by the NRL’s biosecurity officers.
The 33-year-old has been ruled out of the competition for 14 days — and will miss the Sharks’ next two crucial matches.
Chambers’ efforts are in complete contrast to the arrogance shown by Queensland State of Origin forward Jai Arrow and 13 St George-Illawarra players, who all blatantly breached the game’s Covid-19 protocols, last week.
The former Storm star has pleaded with the NRL to review his situation, stating that he is willing to be Covid-19 tested every day to show that he is clean from the virus.
The saga began for Chambers after he was permitted to return to his home in Melbourne almost a fortnight ago for the birth of his baby daughter.
He and wife Bianca welcomed their baby girl last Monday.
As planned, Chambers flew back to Sydney on Thursday in readiness to play against the Warriors on Sunday afternoon.
“I’d come from Melbourne where there have been zero cases for seven days,’’ Chambers said.
“I left a three-day old daughter behind with my wife still in hospital so that I could get back for my footy team.
“I wasn’t out there doing anything bad.
“Coming from Melbourne, where there had been no cases, I thought I was still under level one protocols — not level four.”
Wearing a mask and logging his whereabouts into the official NRL Covid-19 phone app, Chambers flew into Sydney airport and was driven to Shark Park by Cronulla’s welfare officer Jeff Robson at 2.15pm.
That was when he was alerted by Project Apollo to an issue.
Chambers was told to sit-tight by the NRL.
It wasn’t until after dark at 7.45pm that he was informed that he had unwittingly burst the NRL Covid-19 bubble.
“I was told don’t get out of my car,’’ Chambers said.
“They (NRL) said they would get an answer for me on what my next step should be, so I sat patiently waiting.
“I knew that people (other players) had stuffed up in the game — but I didn’t want to wreck the competition, ruin the club’s reputation and my reputation.
“But because I spent less than 10 minutes inside Sydney airport — which I didn’t learn until I was sitting in my car, was a no-go zone. Honestly, it was 10 minutes.
“It was a mistake and a misunderstanding.
“It’s not an excuse, but I wasn’t involved in the bubble last year (due to being overseas playing Japanese rugby), so
I’m one player that is still getting used to the intricate details around the rules.
“What’s frustrating is, I was honest and upfront the whole way through and yet I’ve still been bitten by it.’’
Asked how he felt sitting inside his car for so long, Chambers said: “It was what I had to do, you just deal with it.
“I face-timed my wife and just waited.‘’
News Corp spoke to Chambers as he drove for 10 hours back to Melbourne on Friday.
He drove directly to a Covid-19 testing facility upon crossing the Victorian border.
He will be isolated for the next 14-days, but hopes the NRL can review his case.
“I did everything that was asked of me and I will continue to do everything required — I’d get tested every day if that gets me back quicker,’’ Chambers said.
“You have to remember I was in a state where there have been no cases.
“I won’t fly back to Sydney next time, I’ll drive back by myself.’’
Chambers said he would use his home treadmill, exercise bike and purchase weights to keep fit during isolation.
“I want to get back as soon as I can for my footy team so we can make a run for the finals,” Chambers said.