'Would you resign': FitzSimons grills V'Landys in heated clash over NRL return

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter
ARL Chairman Peter V'landys (pictured left) was grilled on live TV by Peter FitzSimons (pictured right) over the NRL's planned restart during the coronavirus pandemic. (Images: Channel Nine)

Former Wallabies player, turned journalist, Peter FitzSimons has grilled ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys on whether he would resign if a player tests positive for coronavirus once the code returns.

V'landys said there is only a "one in 10,000 chance" of players catching coronavirus if they conform to the NRL's strict biosecurity measures after they reassemble this week.

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The NRL will take the next step toward a May 28 restart of the suspended competition when the 16 clubs hold education days on Monday, with the biosecurity guidelines to be explained to all players.

Providing players are satisfied, they are expected to resume training as early as Tuesday.

But after a chaotic few days that saw players such as Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Nathan Cleary all breached coronavirus protocols many have doubts over how the competition can restart.

V'landys said he was confident that players would adhere to the guidelines despite the poor example set by social isolation breaches of the high-profile players last week, saying the consequences would be "immense".

"We need to trust our players, and have that confidence in them. I think they realise the importance, not only are they affecting themselves but they are also affecting the 485 colleagues and the game itself," he told Nine Network's Sports Sunday.

"If they do something wrong they jeopardise the whole game, so the consequences are immense."

FitzSimons takes aim at V’landys

But FitzSimons wanted reassurances and grilled V’landys over how he was going to handle the situation.

“Are you betting your career on this? You’re the one who has pushed this harder than anybody. You’re saying it’s a one in 10,000 chance and we can trust the players. If there was a positive, would you resign?” he asked.

V’landys said: “Look, it depends on the circumstances. I’m in the racing industry so I bet every day, it’s a gamble. But you’re right Pete, the thing is this is a risk analysis and we have undertaken one of the greatest risk analysis’ there is.”

But after the ARL chairman ran through the risks, FitzSimons pushed V’landys on whether all NRL players should be downloading the government app to help track any potential coronavirus outbreak.

When V’landys said they would be speaking to the players come Monday about this idea, FitzSimons doubled down.

“Can I just suggest that given you’re putting at risk the public health, it’s ipso facto you’ve got to get everyone of them, the people that are involved in the NRL to download the app or don’t take part at all,” he said.

With AAP