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NRL to meet Qld Premier on COVID plan

The NRL will meet with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week to work through the NRL involvement of the Brisbane Broncos Broncos and other Queensland teams.

The Premier, who yesterday announced an easing of COVID-19 restrictions beginning this weekend that will allow Queenslanders to leave their homes for recreation, has already been presented with a detailed NRL plan on the extensive biosecurity measures to be implemented as part of a May 28 restart to the competition.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys confirmed the planned discussions, adding that he remained “absolutely confident” the three Queensland teams would also be ready to go

“Either they will be based out of Queensland or here in NSW, but we will have them in.

“And by the time we start, who knows where things are at?

The borders may have been opened to Queensland. Everything is moving so quickly with this."

V’landys said rugby league’s biosecurity measures will be the “benchmark” for all Australian sports when the NRL resumes on May 28 with all 16 clubs involved. 

Asked about his push to have players from two countries, three states and one territory back to training within eight days, and playing by May 28, V’landys said: “There’s no doubting that everyone is looking at us — and that’s fine.

“Right now, it feels like a 100m hurdle race. You jump one hurdle, only to be confronted by another one. But we’ve always known this would happen, which is why we’ve given ourselves time.

“Plus, you look at the work we’ve done on our biosecurity measures, I think they’ll become benchmarks.

“And we don’t mind being leaders.

“Because this isn’t only for sport, it’s about showing things can come back to some form of normality.

“We can’t stay like this for the rest of our lives.

“But we need to (make changes) with least risk, with least risk of having a second wave of the virus.”

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V’landys said he also hoped to have the season schedule finalised today. The preferred option now is another 17 to 20 rounds. State of ­Origin would then be played after the grand final.

“I’ve always said the more rounds the better,” V’landys said.

“That keeps the competition as authentic as possible. Which is crucial.

“It’s also why we are putting State of Origin after the season, as that then counters the fact we aren’t going to have the usual number of rounds.

“Where clubs usually lose Origin players, or have them coming back while trying to recover (from interstate games), they can concentrate on the season without the worry of being disadvantaged.”

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.