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The RLPA has backed the NRL's "optimism" in targeting a May 28 return-to-play date, but cautioned a delay may still be needed to ensure player welfare needs are met.

Project Apollo head Wayne Pearce told media on Wednesday that clubs could work towards having teams training again on May 4, with the NRL's proposed May 28 restart still on target.

Players’ union CEO Clint Newton on Thursday said all parties need to be cautiously optimistic as the RLPA is still yet to sign off on the biosecurity measures required around a return-to-play scenario.

The NRL is preparing to circulate a 50-page document outlining a range of health and safety measures to clubs and the RLPA on Friday.

Newton stressed logistics on how those protocols are implemented at club level required plenty of work if players are to return to training safely. He added the prospect of pushing the restart date back was far better than risking a COVID-19 outbreak in the game.

"I think we still have to work towards [May 4]," Newton said.

"But I still think we have to have a level of humility to understand if we're not ready, that's OK, we just have to adjust the goalposts again.

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"There is nothing wrong with working towards that, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

"We are still absolutely solid in working through this together but there are some steps we need to work through."

Speaking to Triple M on Thursday night, Pearce said he was highly optimistic about a May 28 resumption but added "there's certainly some things that have to fall into place" for it to happen.

"But all the players that I've spoken to, and there's been a lot, they want to know 'when are we going to start?' And they want it [to be] the sooner the better."

As well as concern around how player safety is guaranteed, the RLPA is continuing its push for the welfare of players at the Warriors and interstate clubs to dictate any relocation plans given games are initially expected to be staged only in NSW.

Also of priority for the players' union is access to medical facilities and injury rehabilitation measures, as well as the players' workload in a condensed season.

The NRL's workload-balance committee also met on Thursday, with the likes of Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold and Storm general manager Frank Ponissi investigating initiatives around ensuring players are not more susceptible to injury in returning to play.

Measures that will be put forward to the Project Apollo committee include allowing extra players in game-day squads to cover last-minute withdrawals should a player report unwell or test positive to coronavirus.

Expanding the clubs' top 30 squads and allowing greater flexibility with development players could also be considered.

We are still absolutely solid in working through this together.

Clint Newton

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys on Wednesday said sanctions around player or staff breaches of biosecurity measures were required as a "deterrent", with the prospect of fines, suspensions or even competition points being docked.

Newton said players understand the high stakes and potential penalties around the proposed health guidelines, but have yet to be briefed on the specifics of breach punishments.

"I think players understand that the circumstances that we're faced with are the most challenging in the game's history, so we have to have a level of protection there and to assist with compliance and behavioural change," he said.

"But it's not just players, this is industry-wide. It's anyone associated with the playing environment.

"But we haven't seen those sanctions or breaches or anything like that. It's something the NRL has committed to working through with [the RLPA] and clubs."

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.