NRL officially bound for Queensland for next month



The NRL will move 12 clubs to South East Queensland for at least a month to escape NSW amid an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases over the weekend.

All NSW and ACT-based clubs will move to three dedicated hubs in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast by Wednesday, while Melbourne and the three Queensland-based clubs will remain in their hometowns.

Matches will be played at Suncorp Stadium, Cbus Stadium or Sunshine Coast Stadium, while the exact location of each team is expected to be finalized on Monday.

Over the next 48 hours, clubs will scramble to finalize their bubble list of 41 people, including players and staff, who will be transported on a chartered flight to Queensland.

The call came after an emergency ARLC meeting on Sunday as the number of coronavirus cases over the weekend reached 127 in Greater Sydney, with a warning that cases are expected to be over 100 Monday.

This sparked a swift response from the NRL, which acted to prevent suspension from competition.

“The commission has conducted a thorough risk assessment and it is clear from current trends in the data that the risk to the competition is too great to continue playing in NSW at this time. We see close and occasional contact almost daily with links to our game, ”said President Peter V’landys.

“Queensland presents a much lower risk.

“The commission is doing everything in its power to keep the competition going. By keeping the competition going, we keep the employees going and ensure that the players continue to be paid at their current rate.

“The Rugby League is also an escape for people during difficult times and it is important that we do everything possible so that our fans can continue to watch the rugby league every week, especially during the lockdown.”

It is understood that considerations will be made for families to join the hubs within the next month, which would be a huge relief for gamers considering this sudden move.

Cronulla coach Josh Hannay said he has yet to speak to his players about the relocation but will support anyone who decides to stay home for family reasons.

“I wouldn’t assume that situation would arise, but I don’t know either,” he said after Sunday’s 20-12 win over the Warriors.

“If that was the case, you might understand.

“There is so much uncertainty right now, and obviously family comes first. There are going to be some awkward conversations over the next couple of days. We will support every player regardless of their decision.

“We will get to work tomorrow and have an in-depth discussion about the future. For the players, they need to have great discussions with their families. They have to go home tonight and digest it all. “

© AAP

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