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Sharks duo have little sympathy for anti-vaxxers: 'Show we're serious'

Sharks senior players Chad Townsend and Aaron Woods have little sympathy for players refusing to have the anti-flu shots.

Townsend said he backed the calls stipulating players had to stand down from training or playing - only for games in Queensland, at present - if they did not have the vaccination.

"Potentially in normal circumstances like last year we were talking about this and could have debated it all day. But the fact is that in 2020 it is a different climate," the halfback said.

"We’re going to extreme lengths to get this game up and running. We’ve got to show the public and the government that we’re following all these protocols.

"And this is one of the protocols to show we’re serious about getting this game up and running."

Woods knows the feeling of enduring an adverse flu vaccine reaction. But he has still had one this year to ensure he gets to play.

Download the COVIDSafe App

"I had a bit of a similar thing to Nathan Peats a couple of years ago at the Tigers. I had a crap reaction to it and I was quite sick afterwards," Woods said on Wednesday.

"But if we’ve got to go out there and play footy, and we have to have the flu shot, it’s as simple as that.

"I’ve gone out and had it done because they are the rules. You’ve got to remember this is a once-in-a-lifetime what’s happened this year.

The fact is that in 2020 it is a different climate.

Chad Townsend

"It’s not always going to be this way that every year you’re going to have to get the vaccination. We’re in a pandemic and there’s some things happening in the world.

"For one year, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and get on board, or just wait until next year."

Sharks skipper Wade Graham is one of several stars from the NRL and NRLW who have thrown their support behind the federal government's push for as many people as possible to download the COVIDSafe app.

Earlier on Wednesday, injured Gold Coast skipper Ryan James stood up for back-rower Bryce Cartwright, one of two Titans players who have refused to be vaccinated against the flu, alongside centre Brian Kelly.

"I'm not going to go out there and make them try to change their beliefs," he said.

"It's just one of those things where it's been under the microscope because we've had no footy.

James: You can't take games away from Queensland

"There's been no sport so we have to talk about something.

"As a mate I respect what he does and I respect who he is and it's entirely up to him. If it all blows over and he's allowed to play footy again, I'll be happy.

"If Carty was to take a stance and not play footy again I would respect him, he's a mate and I respect everything he does."