AFL, NRL continue despite virus outbreak

Oliver Caffrey
Todd Greenberg (l) and Peter V'landys explained the NRL's decision to proceed with the competition

Australia's biggest sporting competitions, the AFL and NRL, are pushing on with their seasons despite the coronavirus outbreak shutting down leagues and events across the world.

The NRL will continue next week, even after Australia and New Zealand's border restrictions to combat the health pandemic take effect.

The worst-affected team, the Warriors, will base themselves in northern NSW as a two-week isolation period for international travellers arriving in Australia and New Zealand will be in place from midnight Sunday.

Stephen Kearney's team will host its round two game, originally fixtured for Auckland's Eden Park, against Canberra on the Gold Coast.

About 100,000 people attended opening round NRL games this weekend, but games will be played behind closed doors indefinitely from Thursday.

The AFL's season-opener between reigning premiers Richmond and Carlton, a contest that normally attracts up to 90,000 fans, is scheduled for the MCG on Thursday night.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed that spectators will be locked out of stadiums indefinitely.

With just two rounds to run before finals after this weekend, the AFLW will continue without fans in attendance.

Uncertainty surrounds the A-League, but Wellington Phoenix want to play out their season in Australia, even though they will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

After thrashing Melbourne Victory 3-0 at Sky Stadium on Sunday, the Phoenix are planning on travelling to Sydney and emerge only for controlled training sessions.

Phoenix players will be given the choice if they want to commit to staying in Australia for at least six weeks.

But the escalating COVID-19 issue has forced Super Rugby to be suspended, with the Brumbies home victory over the NSW Waratahs on Sunday the last match before the shutdown.

With teams based across four countries, SANZAAR had no other option but to postpone the competition due to travel restrictions in Australia and New Zealand.

The domestic cricket season could be over with Cricket Australia cancelling the final round of the Sheffield Shield.

A decision about whether the Shield decider on March 27 goes ahead is yet to be made.

It comes a day after the ODI series between Australia and New Zealand was abandoned a game into the Chappell-Hadlee contest so the Black Caps could rush home.

This weekend's Australian Formula One Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday after a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus.

The NBL's grand final series between Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats is continuing without crowds in attendance.

Major sporting competitions around the world, including the NBA and Premier League, have already suspended their seasons because of the coronavirus.