NRL take advice from biosecurity expert

Pamela Whaley

ARL commission chairman Peter V'landys has revealed a north Queensland resort has reached out to the NRL to be considered if all 16 clubs are to be relocated to play a 'Magic Round' style competition.

As NRL bosses navigate one of the most complex challenges in the game's history due to the coronavirus pandemic, V'landys has confirmed every option to keep the competition alive is being considered.

That includes relocating all 16 NRL teams to a warmer climate such as Queensland where the virus is less likely to thrive, isolating teams in one location, and playing all games at one stadium to ensure the broadcast can proceed.

A resort in far north Queensland has already emailed the NRL to advise they have vacancies to accommodate all 16 NRL teams should the competition be moved.

However, it all hinges on a report from an appointed biosecurity expert who will assess which solution is safest for players.

"We need to get our biosecurity experts to have a look at that facility and how we would eliminate any risk. There's an element of thought that you might put greater risk by having all the players in one area," V'landys told Triple M on Sunday.

"We have to look at all contingencies and ensure that we are providing the best biosecurity measures to eliminate any risk of the players catching the virus.

"The biggest risk for us is a player or official catching the virus, which means there would be isolation of some of the players and teams and that's when we can pull the lever on suspending the season."

Other options understood to be considered are postponing the season for a month and extending the competition through until the end of October and playing catch-up games during bye rounds.

There is also the option for rescheduling games should a player be diagnosed with coronavirus and restructuring the competition for games to be played later in the season.

Games are already closed to crowds from round two but conversations will continue with clubs over the next week as the global situation remains fluid.

It's still to be determined if lower grade and junior competitions will need to be shut down, with the state authorities to make those decisions in the coming days.

However, V'landys said it was inevitable there would be changes made.