Virus set to scupper grassroots league

Matt Encarnacion
Grassroots rugby league in NSW and Queensland is expected to be canned in the wake of coronavirus

The NSWRL is set to announce on Wednesday that all grassroots rugby league will be suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus.

The state body held talks on Tuesday to determine what action to take for its array of leagues, including their reserve grade competition.

Under-age football, junior representative and bush competitions are all expected to shut down, with the Queensland Rugby League expected to follow suit.

The suspension of both reserve grade seasons will have a flow-on effect on the NRL competition, which will continue despite the pandemic threat.

All NRL clubs field a number of players from their top-30 roster in reserve grade.

The development comes after the Warriors' NSW Cup side returned home to New Zealand last week before the introduction of strict travel restrictions.

International arrivals in Australia have also been instructed to self-quarantine for a fortnight, raising serious questions about the Warriors' inclusion in the season.

The decision could work in favour of the Warriors' NRL side, who have begun identifying players from rival clubs that could be loaned this season.

The NRL is understood to be considering allowing the Warriors to take on players not needed at other clubs in a bid to remain competitive this year.

The Warriors are currently preparing for Saturday's clash against Canberra before deciding whether to return home to Auckland after the match.

At this stage, only 24 of their players are in Australia, including five development players that the NRL has given the green light to be selected.

"We've just got to work with those clubs and with the NRL how best we can borrow them for a couple of weeks if need be," Warriors boss Cameron George said.