NRL aim to return to season, in discussions with Government to allow Warriors to play

Publish Date
Monday, 6 April 2020, 7:33PM
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The NRL has reportedly contacted the Government in a desperate attempt to get the Warriors to Australia for the highly anticipated return of the season.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NRL is "hellbent" on getting the Warriors an exemption from travel restrictions so the club can be included for the competition's targeted return of May 28.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said it was "working hard" with the Australian and New Zealand governments but admits the league would have to go on without the Kiwi side if exemptions aren't granted.

"We could play without them, but we don't want to," Greenberg told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"We want to play a competition with all 16 clubs. We'll be working hard on the Warriors' behalf with government on both sides of the Tasman to make sure they can play a part in 2020.

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"We'll be doing everything possible to ensure the season is played in its full capacity with all teams, and that includes the Warriors. That's for two reasons. One, we want the competition to be pure. But two, to genuinely reflect the sacrifices they made earlier in the year."

Most Warriors players, with the exception of a few who stayed with their families in Australia, are in lockdown like the rest of the country after returning from Australia two weeks ago.

The NRL reportedly has 15 days to produce its plans for housing the league amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the NRL's immediate future set to be decided at a meeting on April 21.

The league will meet with a newly appointed infectious disease expert to attempt to create "the safest place on earth", with plans to build up to four "bubble" communities before the resumption of the third round of the competition.

"They have all been tasked with coming up with different solutions and opportunities for the game to consider. We will also need to consult independent medical and biosecurity experts.

"That work has already started and we'll be progressing again this week, ultimately to provide a report for Peter [V'landys] and I to take to the commission in the middle of April."

Greenberg and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman V'landys will meet with the commission on April 21.

If the decision to go ahead on the planned May 28 is reached, teams will reportedly be granted permission to train from April 27, giving clubs a mini pre-season ahead of the much-anticipated return of the league.

This article was originally published at nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission