Peter V'Landys' huge admission about postponing NRL grand final

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Peter V'Landys, pictured here speaking to the media in Sydney.
Peter V'Landys says the NRL is more likely to postpone the grand final than relocate it. Image: Getty

Peter V'Landys says the NRL is more likely to postpone the grand final than relocate it to Townsville if it can't go ahead with fans on Sunday night.

NRL officials are expected to be locked in emergency meetings on Friday, as the fate of the season-decider hangs in the balance because of Queensland's Covid-19 outbreak.

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While Townsville was originally flagged as the NRL's 'Plan B', a postponement is becoming more realistic if the outbreak worsens and a lockdown is forced.

In a positive sign for the NRL, just two new locally acquired cases of coronavirus were recorded in Queensland on Friday and the government has so far resisted a lockdown.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already reduced crowd capacity for the sold-out event at Suncorp Stadium to 75 per cent, but maintains a final decision on whether the game will go ahead with crowds won't be made until game day.

"The head of tourism has been speaking with the NRL," she said.

"But can I just make it very clear - if the advice is to go into lockdown, we will go into lockdown. There's no ifs and or buts here, people.

"This is serious. So it's going to depend whether we see any unlinked community transmission over the next 24-48 hours."

V'Landys, the chairman of the ARL Commission, confirmed on Friday morning it would be difficult to move the game to Townsville, and for logistical reasons that would have to be decided before Saturday.

"When we negotiated with the government we always had a Plan B. That was to go to Townsville," V'landys told 2GB radio.

"Logistically now that would be hard. We would have to make a decision today because you would have to get TV crews and OB vans up to Townsville from Brisbane and that takes time."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured here addressing the media in Brisbane.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addresses the media in Brisbane. (Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)

Could Sydney still host the NRL grand final?

V'landys admitted a postponement was the more likely fallback option, with the league still hoping it can go ahead with a 75 or 50 per cent crowd in Brisbane.

"Postponement is definitely one (option)," V'landys said.

"We won't take any action without consulting the coaches and two teams. But we want a crowd and if it means postponing the event to get a crowd we will do so."

Sydney could still potentially feature as the unlikely host for the grand final if a Queensland lockdown was to linger, given crowds are likely to return in NSW from October 11.

Crowds will be capped at 5000 for fully vaccinated people, provided the state reaches 70 per cent double dosage next week as expected.

"Everything is on the table," V'landys said.

"It will be a hard decision because naturally when you make these decisions it doesn't please everyone.

"But we will try and make the best decision for the players and the fans."

The entire competition was relocated to Queensland back in July because of NSW's Covid outbreak.

with AAP

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