The competition rebounded from Todd Greenberg’s sudden resignation by reiterating on Wednesday afternoon that the NRL would return to action on May 28. Prime Minister Scott Morrison since confirmed the federal government wouldn’t stand in the way of the game’s ambitious return timeline.
Return date details
ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that everything was in place for the game’s return in late May. All non-NSW teams will be required to base themselves in NSW ahead of a May 4 return to team training.
“We reaffirmed that May 28 is the starting date for the competition, we also confirmed that teams will be able to train from May 4,” Pearce told reporters.
“The competition points earned in the first two rounds will also carry over to the extended competition.
“Everyone is supportive of what we’re doing. It is very unified around what we feel is right for the game, and we feel getting back on the field is right for the game.”
Pearce confirmed the NSW government was on board with the plans.
“We actually have permission from the government,” he said.
“We’re allowed to play, provided we adhere to the public health guidelines. We intend to exceed what the public health guidelines are.
“What we’re doing is, we’re going through a process where we’re letting the government know exactly what our standards are so we’re transparent around that.”
According to Nine’s Wide World of Sports, the Auckland-based New Zealand Warriors are set to be given exemption from New Zealand’s strict government directives, with clearance given for the team to arrive in Australia prior to the May 4 return to training.
Warriors players will stay in quarantine for 14 days but will be allowed to train together to prepare for the season’s resumption. While we don’t know for sure when the NRL will return, visit bookmakers like these in Australia for all the best odds on the 2020 season. Double defending NRL premiers, the Sydney Roosters were favorites to win 3 in row ($4.50). Melbourne and the Canberra Raiders were equal second favorites at $6.50.
How it might work
The finer details of the league’s resurrected season are still yet to be determined, with broadcast powerhouses Fox Sports and Nine shaping as key players in the final outcome. Talks between the broadcasters and ARLC chairman Peter V’landys continued this week.
“We’re trying our best to finalise all the broadcast things this week, and that’s optimistic,” V’landys told AAP.
“Because they are very complicated. And you have two partners, not just one. And you’ve got to work between the two of them.
“But they are certainly progressing. There are meetings every day. It’s not an easy progress. But we will get there.”
Paul Kent said on Fox League Live that the league’s structure was very much dependent on the ongoing discussions.
“Until we know what happens with the broadcasters we are not going to know for sure what that looks like,” he said.
“Nine want a shorter season and Fox Sports want the season to run longer. Channel Nine have the cricket at the end of the season so they want it to end a little bit earlier.”
Whatever the case, stringent biosecurity measures have been flagged as a must if the league is to avoid future competition lockdowns.
According to Nine News, the league will implement its own coronavirus testing regime, separate from the public health system, with the NRL willing to pay “over and above”.
In the meantime, new safety protocols are to be put in place by the NRL to keep the competition safe from coronavirus and ensure the game stays on track for the May 28 restart.
From May 4, everyone involved in the NRL’s return will need to adhere to the protocols, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“There will be sanctions (if they are breached),” V’landys said.
“There has to be a big deterrent because one reckless act will bring the game down.”