South Sydney will have to go another two weeks without Benji Marshall with the NRL veteran to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival into Queensland.
Marshall will fly to the Gold Coast with families of other NRL players and staff on Wednesday, after the Queensland government finally gave approval for them to enter the state.
There had been a thought the 36-year-old would then be able to join the Rabbitohs squad, after staying back in Sydney while still under bubble restrictions for the birth of his second child.
However, it's now understood Marshall will have to spend the two weeks quarantining with families, before being able to return to Souths training in a fortnight.
It means he will miss the Rabbitohs' matches against the Warriors and St George Illawarra, after also not being able to play in Sunday's clash with Canterbury with family flights pushed back.
He will be back for Souths' massive clash against Parramatta in round 21, where a top-four spot could almost be locked in.
"We're no chance of having him Saturday, he'll go through the same process of the quarantine with the families, " Souths hooker Damien Cook said of Marshall.
"He's in a very different situation, a newborn down there with his partner so his family comes first and footy second.
"He'll do that, he'll get through the quarantine and we'll see how Wayne (Bennett) picks his side after that."
Players remain unsure how their lives will look come the end of next week, when they finish their own two-week quarantine period.
If cases remain absent in Queensland it is hoped they will be let out of stage-four NRL restrictions and be given the freedom to live like others in the state.
Regardless, the impending arrival of families comes as a huge relief after it was pushed back from the original planned date of Saturday.
"A lot of the boys will benefit a lot from that from a mental side of things," Cook said.
"Once they get on that plane and land I will be really excited and counting down the days.
"It's been a long period over the last few weeks of origin as well there's only been about, just over a week where I have actually got to spend with my daughter.
"You look at the Warriors and what they went through without their families here for a long time. It's inspiring and motivating."
Partners of players without children are included in the contingent heading north, as part of the largest logistical challenge faced by the NRL.
They too will be able to join players in a fortnight's time.
"I can only speak for my partner but she was very excited by being given a locked-in date," Penrith captain Isaah Yeo said.
"She's looking forward to getting up here."
Australian Associated Press