Melbourne Storm great Cameron Smith has commented on the challenges unvaccinated players are facing should they double down on their decision not to receive the jab come the beginning of next season.

As many as 15 players from 12 NRL clubs have been identified as those reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, limiting their ability to play and train with their teammates in certain regions of the country.

Players won't be able to compete in Victoria and Queensland despite the NRL's decision not to introduce a vaccine mandate.

Canterbury recruit John Asiata is understood to have told his new club that he will not receive the vaccine and that the Bulldogs can count him out of playing in 2022.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: John Asiata of the Cowboys passes during the round 23 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Penrith hooker Apisai Koroisau and Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo are also among those yet to receive the vaccine.

Speaking to the ABCSmith said players unwilling to receive a jab will face extensive consequences despite the league's stance.

"It really doesn't matter the position the NRL has taken," Smith said.

Speaking on his former teammate in Asofa-Solomona, Smith said the decision lies with the Storm forward, who is facing an unclear future in the competition.

"Nelson's in a position that he's not vaccinated right now, so he won't be able to return to training at AAMI Park with the rest of the team until he is," Smith added.

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