The NRL has imposed strict biosecurity measures for their season to continue amid COVID-19 concerns. Image by AP PHOTO

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NRL gets tick of approval from Queensland

2020-07-29 18:52:02

Peter V’landys insists NSW’s COVID-19 contact tracing means NRL players can stay in the state long term after receiving confirmation they can continue flying into Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday announced the state would close its borders to all residents of greater Sydney on Saturday from 1:00am.

That caused a chain reaction through Australian sport, with several codes in a rush to move teams north due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

However, the NRL received confirmation on Wednesday evening it would remain exempt from the changes.

It means the 10 Sydney-based teams will continue to be chartered to Queensland to play without staying overnight.

Queensland teams will also be able to make the same trip in reverse, with players on both sides of the Tweed still in their bubbles.

“We were granted an exemption when we lodged a pretty extensive list of vigorous protocols,” ARL Commission chairman V’landys told AAP.

“And that exemption is from when the whole NSW border was closed.

“We still have the same rigorous protocols.”

Wednesday’s changes did, however, prompt sections of the NRL to look closely at contingencies.

The NRL would still rather move the four teams based in Queensland to NSW if an issue arose with the Queensland Government. 

It would cause a massive logistical hurdle for the league to move 12 teams out of NSW, coming at great financial cost and issues for players and officials’ families.

New case numbers in NSW have sat between 10 and 20 for all but one of the past 16 days, with small clusters growing around the city.

However working in the NRL’s favour is that, as of Wednesday, there were just seven cases in NSW with no known source.

And while ever that number remained low, V’landys insisted there was no need to consider moving teams out of the state and the whole competition to Queensland.

“We’ve got contingencies. We don’t think we need to use them, but we’ve got them there just in case,” V’landys said.

“There is no reason to take everyone up there, because NSW is able to trace all the outbreaks.

“While they can trace them, there is no reason.

“(If it became like a Victoria situation) then we would have to move.”

Other options for the NRL include introducing regular testing of players.

At the moment, they are only required to undergo a coronavirus test if they show symptoms or breach biosecurity guidelines.