NRL competition is in freefall as league scrambles to move 12 teams to Queensland ‘for the rest of the season’ amid Covid outbreak – but here’s why it could be great news for fans
- NRL has started to finalise plans to shift NSW and ACT teams into Queensland
- League will hold month of double-headers and triple-headers in Sunshine State
- Teams will be split across hubs on Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast
The NRL are eying off a month of double-headers and triple-headers as they navigate the logistical nightmare of moving the competition to Queensland.
It comes as NSW continues to grapple with an outbreak of the Delta strain of Covid-19 with 112 new cases reported on Monday.
The sudden shift of location has come with good news with fans likely to enjoy back to back games while the competition is being held in Queensland.
The NRL are eying off a month of double-headers and triple-headers as they navigate the logistical nightmare of moving the competition to Queensland
It comes as NSW continues to grapple with an outbreak of the Delta strain of Covid-19 with 112 new cases reported on Monday
Players and staff will at first remain in quarantine for two weeks and only be allowed out to train and play, before potentially earning extra freedoms.
During that initial fortnight there is some chance crowds will not be allowed at some games, depending on what can be negotiated with the Queensland Government this week.
‘We’re going to put a proposal to the Queensland Government on a way for us to safely secure the players and the environment,’ NRL boss Andrew Abdo said.
‘We are very experienced around clean and dirty zones and different levels of protocols. So there is a possibility of us moving to crowds very quickly.
‘After around about a two-week period, we will then start looking at opportunities to play double headers and triple headers.
‘We want to look at the upside of what is a great opportunity for our fans in Queensland to see multiple teams potentially play.’
The NRL must also negotiate to have Origin players rejoin their club bubbles after Wednesday, but are confident they will be able to do so.
Brisbane’s maiden grand final is also not out of the question, with Abdo unwilling to put a number on what drop in COVID-19 cases would allow clubs to return.
‘We’re committing for a four-week period. Now, will it be longer than that? It’s possible,’ Abdo said.
‘It is somewhat linked to obviously the infection rate (in Sydney), it’s also linked to restrictions.
‘We’re going to put a proposal to the Queensland Government on a way for us to safely secure the players and the environment,’ NRL boss Andrew Abdo said
All NSW and ACT-based clubs will be moved into three dedicated hubs in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast by Wednesday
‘And it’s also linked to exemptions that we might be able to obtain from other state governments too.
‘We also need to consider the opportunity cost of not being able to have crowds or potential disruption.’
What will change is how clubs operate off the field.
Some will have to share doctors and even analysts or sports scientists, with 30 of the 41 spots in most club’s bubbles to be taken up by players.
Most clubs have a head coach, three assistants, two physios, a football manager, gear steward as well as strength and conditioning coaches and on-field trainers with the required qualifications.
A bubble will still be maintained at the home base of those clubs with players not making the initial move into Queensland allowed to continue training.
NRL scrambles to move 12 NSW and ACT teams to Queensland