An NRL legend who tested negative for Covid-19 three times has been slapped with a $5000 fine for going to visit his dying mother in hospital.
Former Newcastle Knights star Robbie O’Davis, 49, told Daily Mail Australia the penalty is ‘un-Australian’ and that he’s now planning to fight the ‘ridiculous’ breach order.
The decision to issue the father-of-four with the heavy fine has not gone over well in the rugby league mad community, with swathes of fans voicing their disgust on social media.
He was deemed a close contact after simply driving through the car park of Lake Macquarie Costco on August 21 at the same time an infected person from Sydney was inside the store.
‘At the end of the day I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I’m not a criminal,’ O’Davis said.
‘I’m a father, a grandfather, a husband and I would never try to hurt anyone but if your mum was laying there dying, you’d jump over buildings to say goodbye.’
Former Newcastle Knights star Robbie O’Davis (pictured with family in Belmont Hospital earlier this year) was hit with a $5000 fine for visiting his dying mother in hospital
The decision to fine the Knight’s star has been met with outrage in the rugby league-mad community (pictured) Robbie O’Davis pictured being swamped by fans after the 2001 Grand Final
The 1997 and 2001 Grand Final hero ‘did the right thing’ and checked in via QR code when he dropped off concrete as part of his job to workers outside the premises.
Although he was ‘not even close to being in contact with anyone’ he received a letter from NSW Health informing him he would need to remain in isolation for 14 days.
Then on August 25 his beloved mother Marg, 74, was unexpectedly rushed to hospital and informed she didn’t have long to live.
‘They said she had septic and could go at any minute,’ O’Davis said.
‘Only dad was allowed in the room, so we all got on speaker phone and spoke to her through the night.’
Robbie O’Davis is now considering contesting the severe penalty after receiving three negative Covid tests – which all people deemed close contacts have to complete before they leave isolation
Marg O’Davis developed severe septicemia and died at Belmont Hospital on August 27
She made it through the night and on the following day the Queensland and Australian representative went to the Belmont Hospital to say his final goodbye – a move which was deemed a breach of his stay-at-home orders even though he had previously received a negative Covid test.
He played songs and poems his children had recorded for their nan as her condition deteriorated in the hospital.
Later that same day he had a police officer come to his door and deliver a $5000 breach order, then on August 27 his mother died.
He tried to challenge the fine after getting two more negative tests back but his appeal was rejected.
O’Davis took to social media on Tuesday to vent his frustration after the loss of his mother last month was compounded by the financial penalty.
O’Davis received this letter (pictured) outlining that he would need to pay the heavy fine
The Knights fullback (pictured) played a staring role in the Newcastle’s 1997 Grand Final win
O’Davis is planning to fight the $5000 fine (pictured) for breaching Covid rules by visiting his dying mother
‘This is our defence system turning against us, same as America. Would you do the same to say good bye to your mum or dad? he wrote on Facebook.
‘I have been treated like a criminal and need some serious advise. I ain’t paying and after the third negative test, I have done nothing wrong.
‘I train people, I sign autographs if asked, I take time for everyone, I don’t try to hurt anyone just like on this occasion, it’s so un-Australian.’
O’Davis said he pleaded with the officers who came to his door, explaining the family tragedy but they had little sympathy.
His says the pain of losing her has been compounded by the way he’s been treated.
‘I try to sit and watch the mountains at the back of my house and wait for a tree blow in the wind, anything to see a sign from mum,’ he candidly told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But I haven’t been able to do that because every time I go out there I’m thinking about that fine.’
O’Davis (pictured with wife) played 223 games during his stellar career for the Knights, wrapping up two premierships for the steel city.
He credits Marg for much of success on the rugby league field saying she was like a ‘human icepack’ always there to ease his pain when times got tough.
‘There are very few people on this earth who have no enemies and don’t dislike anyone, but she was that sort of a person,’ he said.
‘She looked after us, always, without complaint. I bloody miss her.’
Fans of the footy legend have since flooded social media with words of support
‘What is this world coming too?’ one person wrote.
Others called the situation: ‘Really really wrong’ and said ‘It’s so disgusting. I’m sure most police did not sign up for this.’
The star credits his mother for much of success on the rugby league field saying she was like a ‘human icepack’ always there to ease his pain when times got tough (pictured, playing for the Knights in 2002)
Another said: ‘These grubs need to have a good hard look at themselves.’
O’Davis played 223 games during his stellar career for the Knights, wrapping up two premierships for the steel city and a Clive Churchill medal.
He also played state of 12 origin games for the maroons and donned the green and gold eight times before calling it quits in 2004.
When someone is deemed a close contact of a Covid case, they must isolate for 14 days and take several tests for the virus and remain in isolation for the full fortnight regardless of results.
But this is set to change to just seven days for the fully-vaccinated.
The star (pictured at training) is grieving the loss of his mother while also rowing with bureaucrats over the Covid fine