George Williams learns NRL's strict Covid-19 rulebook as training resumes
GEORGE Williams is learning a new rule book after returning to training – the Covid-19 rule book, which is even stricter than what a government says.
That means testing every day, checking your temperature several times and the moment he feels unwell, he has to stay as far away from Canberra as possible.
The former Wigan man is back training after NRL clubs came back to build up for their May 28 restart.
It has seen New Zealand Warriors base themselves just over 1,400 miles from Auckland in Tamworth, New South Wales.
Melbourne Storm’s move 200 miles to the New South Wales town of Albury after Victoria banned them from training there has caused a stink, with the local council banning them from using its facilities.
However, Williams and compatriots John Bateman, Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton appear to be OK as the area has had only one new case in more than a week.
And the England ace revealed just how strict things are after they were given an all-day rundown of what they can and cannot do – while saluting the Warriors’ effort.
Williams said: “Tuesday was basically just going over all rules and regulations the NRL and government have agreed on.
“Also, what we need to follow even away from training, which is stricter than normal government. It’s pretty serious, with temperatures and testing before even entering the building here.
“We’ve been pretty lucky in Canberra with no cases for more than a week, so touch wood we can play at home – if not, we’ll do whatever it takes.
“It’s a fair effort from all teams who’ve had to move. More than anyone, the Warriors players and staff.
“Sacrificing being away from family is huge, so respect to them for that.”
The NRL’s shutdown since March 23 is the latest thing that may have left Williams asking, ‘Why did I come here?’
Australia closing its borders meant his family could not fly out to see how he is coping 10,500 miles away. Pre-season training was moved because of raging bushfires in the area.
Throw in the fact it is on the other side of the world, in a place he does not know, and it has been tough – then there is the heat, the spiders and the snakes to worry about!
But stand-off Williams has developed a new skill while also ticking over.
“My family are all well and safe,” the 25-year-old added. “I’m just disappointed I’ve not been able to see them as they were due over last month.
“I miss them all but health comes first – and I’ve got good at PlayStation, put it that way!”
One thing likely to make way for redrawn domestic seasons on both sides of the world is the Ashes series between England and Australia.
That would mean a reunion with former Wigan boss, now new England coach, Shaun Wane but even though games look distant, he has been in touch with all eight Australia-based English stars.
And despite the extreme change in circumstances, some things have not changed.
“We had a Zoom call with him,” revealed Williams, who would be ‘gutted’ if the Tests are shelved.
“He was his usual self. He told us what he sees and how he wants us to play as well as cracking a few jokes!”
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