NRL yet to detail self-isolation protocols

Matt Encarnacion
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NRL EELS TRAINING

NRL players are waiting to learn the scope of a self-isolation plan to guard against coronavirus

The NRL and players union have agreed to implement a self-isolation policy with its players to combat the coronavirus - but neither are sure what it looks like.

The decision to introduce the radical safety measures were among a handful of significant agenda items during Thursday's ARL Commission meeting.

The NRL reiterated its desire to play out the entire premiership season, including all 25 regular season rounds, even if meant deciding a title-winner in December.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg conceded the game had accepted the fact that it would be forced to shut down at some point in the future.

"(But we'll) go as deep and as far as we need to go," Greenberg said.

"There's a calendar year that we're trying to commit to and we've got a number of different scenarios.

"If we lose a game or we lose a round we're very confident we can fulfil our obligations.

"We think we can do it all this year."

And while the current State of Origin dates remain in place, the NRL concede the stadium lockouts mean the money-spinner is likely to be moved to a later date.

A decision on the end-of-season Kangaroo tour to Great Britain, as well as the women's competition, has also yet to be made.

The only key outcome out of Thursday's meeting was for players to self-quarantine, a radical step they had initially broached with clubs on Tuesday.

"Taking into account the biosecurity and pandemic experts advice... we will always abide by that advice," ARLC chairman Peter V'landys said.

"What that basically means (is) there will only be essential interaction with our players with the general community. Any non-essential contact will be reduced."

Pressed on the parameters around the new measures, V'landys said it was a discussion they would now have with the players union and clubs.

Some clubs have already set up bunkers at their training headquarters, while the NRL has previously urged players to avoid bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

"Normal day activities is not self-isolation. Self-isolation means limited social interaction," V'landys said.

Rugby League Players Association general manager Clint Newton said the plan had yet to be presented to his members.

However he is confident that the group would buy into the proposal.

"It's about giving them an understanding of what this process looks like, and also what the restrictions we've put on the them," Newton said.

"By bringing the players along and developing the detail, you've got the best chance possible of them coming in and buying into whatever process we have."

V'landys also suggested the game would consider locking down all 16 teams in one location, likely to be in the country's north, during the upcoming winter.

The towns of Calliope and Townsville in Queensland, and Darwin in the Northern Territory, have been widely speculated as possible destinations.

"We need to be ready and agile for all contingencies, and we are. That includes possibly relocating the players somewhere else in the peak time," V'landys said.