NRL clubs on cusp of earlier-than-expected return home

NRL teams could be allowed to play at their traditional home grounds as early as round eight. Pic: Getty

NRL clubs could return to their traditional homes as soon as round eight, with Canberra working with the ACT government to come back to GIO Stadium.

The Raiders on Tuesday confirmed they will meet with stadium officials this week on a plan to host St George Illawarra in the nation's capital on July 3.

'ROT IN JAIL': Phil Gould explodes in furious on-air rant

‘NOT TAKING ANY RISK’: NRL match postponed over virus scare

The league's current schedule has pencilled in games at limited venues until round nine, including three in NSW, two in Queensland and one in Victoria.

However it is understood NRL executives are this week exploring the possibility of all 16 clubs moving back to their own grounds in two weeks.

The move would coincide with the return of a limited number of fans, following the federal government's decision to cap stadium crowds at 25 per cent capacity from July onwards.

Canberra told members they would be given first right to tickets at GIO Stadium, which would seat around 6,250 people under current health guidelines.

The Brumbies are scheduled to face the Melbourne Rebels at the ground the day after the Raiders' fixture against the Dragons.

A decision could be made as soon as this Friday.

"GIO Stadium management are currently working through return to operation plans with local authorities and the ACT chief medical officer," the Raiders said.

"The Raiders will be fully briefed by GIO Stadium management on Friday 19 June 2020 on where things stand in this regard.

The Canberra Raiders are in discussions to return to GIO Stadium in two weeks. Pic: Getty

Player restrictions likely to be relaxed

"And we will share any new information that comes to light with you."

The development comes as players brace for their bubble to burst following the completion of this weekend's games.

It is believed the league's biosecurity expert, Dr David Heslop, has overseen a submission to health officials for players' measures to be relaxed.

It would allow the players to be free to visit cafes and restaurants, which they've been prohibited from frequenting since the coronavirus shutdown.

South Sydney star Damien Cook said the last time he ate out was a game-day breakfast prior to the league's suspension in late March.

"It's been a while since round two and I think that'll be the first thing that I'll do, just go sit at a cafe, go play some golf maybe," he said.