Rugby league: Canterbury Bulldogs release forward John Asiata for refusing to vaccinate against COVID-19

The Canterbury Bulldogs have released forward John Asiata from his one-year contract following his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Asiata only signed with the Sydney club at the end of last season after playing for the Brisbane Broncos in 2021, and the North Queensland Cowboys from 2014-2020.

The NRL has not mandated the vaccine but have allowed clubs to enforce their own rules and the Bulldogs are the first club to have parted ways with a player.

As of last week, 15 NRL registered players had yet to receive their first vaccination including Kiwis prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Asiata, 28 has played two tests for Tonga and two for Samoa and was a highly touted junior for Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters.

In-all, Asiata has played 139 NRL games, scoring five tries.