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"I've got an autistic child." Mat Rogers' message to the NRL players who refuse to get a flu shot.

NRL great Mat Rogers has admitted that as a father of a child with autism, he previously held concerns about the safety of vaccinations. But after thoroughly researching the claims, he unreservedly changed his mind.

“That whole vaccination world just drives me insane,” Rogers, who played for the Titans between 2007 and 2011, told Nine News on Wednesday night.

In light of the NRL players who are currently refusing to receive their flu-vaccination, as ordered by the Queensland Government, Rogers has a salient message.

“I understand, I’ve got an autistic child, and I thought it might have been a vaccine,” Rogers shared. His son, Max, was diagnosed with autism at three years old.

“I have done that much research and there’s just no evidence of that. It’s just a doctor that came out and said some things a couple of years ago [and] he actually got struck off.

“To think that hundreds of thousands of people in the medical industry are all holding a secret and keeping the rest of us in the dark is just ridiculous.”

The Queensland government, who has helped the NRL re-start by opening their borders and granting quarantine exemptions for teams amid the coronavirus pandemic, have issued a “no jab, no play” policy for NRL players if they want to return by May 28.

As a result, some players, including Titans duo Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly, had refused the shot due to their anti-vaccinations beliefs and could be sidelined this NRL season.

Rogers continued: “I agree with pro-choice, but when that starts to affect your teammates and the potential league, I tend to worry.”

“Really the only people who can be pro-choice are the people who run their own ship.”

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The 44-year-old added the players need to be reminded that they are ultimately employees, who must follow mandatory rules like anyone else.

“Every employee out there has stipulations. You can’t go to work everyday and just choose what you want to do.

“That’s the reality of being an employee and that’s what you do when you put your hand up to play in the NRL, you’re an employee.

“You’re a part of a team, and that team relies on you. Sacrifices need to be made.”

mat rogers
Bryce Cartwright during a Gold Coast NRL training session at Gold Coast Titans HQ on May 6, 2020. Image: Getty.

A Titans spokesman has said: "We are fighting a global pandemic and the state government has granted the NRL an extraordinary privilege, ahead of millions of others, in allowing the competition to resume on May 28.

"As part of that in keeping with their focus to protect and save lives they have asked for our players to have a flu shot.

"We think it is a reasonable request."

The Titans spokesman confirmed Cartwright and Kelly would remain sidelined for now, however The Courier Mail has since reported that Brian Kelly has changed his mind, and is willing to have the vaccination so that he can play the NRL season.

The Gold Coast were reportedly considering stopping payment to any player that refused the shot, and The Sydney Morning Herald said the NRL would support the Titans if they froze payments to players who were unable to fulfil their contractual obligations.


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