Players to handle toughest season: Seibold

Pamela Whaley and Laine Clarke
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold says this year's NRL premiers will be well deserving of the title

A nine-week competition break, compromised training and 18 rounds of consecutive matches will make the 2020 NRL season one of the most intense in history according to Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold.

On Monday NRL players returned to clubs for an educational briefing of new protocols ahead of the recommencement of training on Wednesday.

Players can only train in groups of 10 and there are limitations on contact work for the first week as part of a staged return for professional sport set out by the Federal government.

So far, players have had six weeks without contact work and training either on their own or in groups of two while the competition has been shut down.

It will mean players will have around two weeks of contact work over the past two months to prepare for round three on May 28.

"There are some limitations, they are less than ideal," Seibold said on Monday.

"But I am not going to whinge about that because the biggest thing is we are back at training, back together.

"We will have to be creative and agile with regards to how we plan the rest of the week.

"I think in some ways it does compromise our prep but it is what it is, the team that adapts the best will come out of the box really well and the team that ends up winning the premiership will have done a hell of a job."

It comes after a leading medical expert Dr Antonio Di Dio, ACT president of the Australian Medical Association, cautioned NRL clubs of the risk of fielding players that are less than 100 per cent fit.

The physical preparation will be a juggling act for coaches who will then need to ensure players can withstand playing 18 rounds straight before finals without a bye.

It's also a consideration for the NRL's Project Apollo, who are considering tweaks to the rules such as longer halftime breaks, drink breaks after 20 minutes and an 18th man on the interchange to reduce player fatigue.

"Whoever ends up being the premiers this year will be remembered for a long, long time, this is such an unusual year, it is going to be the most intense competition because we don't normally play that many games straight," Seibold said, confirming the players can handle anything asked of them.

"The players will deal with whatever straight up, players are really adaptable, the elite players in Origin they come back three days later and get through that chunk of games.

"(But) it will be challenging, this premiership is going to be one to remember, all 16 teams are excited about getting the footy back on again, if you get through to October 25 you have to be consistent for a very long time, I think it is going to be a premiership to remember for the club who holds the trophy aloft"