D-Day awaits for NRL with cabinet meeting

Scott Bailey and Pamela Whaley
Tui Kamikamica and Brenko Lee of the Storm train on Thursday

Friday shapes as another D-Day for the NRL with the code confident it will have positive answers on Queensland clubs and the Warriors by the start of the weekend.

National cabinet is set to meet to discuss frameworks around the return to sport at all levels, with the league the most forward in its plans to resume on May 28.

That looms as the most crucial decision yet for the NRL, with health officials to decide how to advise states on whether the game can return and in what form.

The league has provided health officials with its own draft biosecurity measures, which it claims to be the benchmark for all sports.

They include the power to move players if they are in a risk zone and banning public exercise outside of club headquarters.

If approved, it should open the door for the states.

The Queensland Government will decide whether to let players train and play in the state and cross the border to NSW.

That could in theory save North Queensland, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast from having to enter camp in NSW, saving the players from leaving their family and the game a significant financial cost.

The NRL has met with Queensland health officials this week, and remains positive about the outcome.

The same challenge also awaits Melbourne, although the lack of border restrictions in Victoria will make life slightly easier regardless.

Crucially, it is also set to determine the Warriors' fate.

The NRL remains hopeful the New Zealand-based club will be given an exemption to travel to Australia and take up camp in Tamworth, training while in quarantine.

That would again ensure that all NRL clubs are able to return to practice next week, paving the way for the planned restart.

"The meeting should give more clarity and direction for the Queensland-based clubs and New Zealand," players' union chief Clint Newton said.

"What we've always said is the work that has gone into the consultation process and the efforts that Peter (V'landys) and the NRL executive team and everyone has done to work with governments to provide clarity for everyone is first class.

"What we would hope is that support continues and players are committing to work through that process and they are told the protocols that are looking to be enforced next week."

There were however concerns from some officials this week that the social isolation breaches of high-profile players could impact the game.

Sports minister Richard Colbeck claimed that Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Nathan Cleary had put the game's return at risk.

Mitchell and Addo-Carr were both fined $1000 by NSW Police, while Cleary was let off with a warning but hit with a fine by the game.

COVID-19 numbers have dropped significantly since the game was put on hiatus, with active cases at 946 in Australia on Thursday compared to 1762 on March 23.