The NRL may consider moving the entire competition to Queensland because of increased fears over the spread of COVID-19 in NSW.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports NRL decision-makers have been working on alternatives that include relocating all 16 teams to the Sunshine State.
Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys told the publication there is already a relocation plan in place the NRL could roll out if needed.
Victoria has suffered a worrying spike in coronavirus cases and there is concern NSW may experience a similar trend. Thirteen new cases in the state were announced today.
At least 21 infections have been linked to an outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula and a Kmart store located in the same suburb has been closed after an employee tested positive.
From midday today Queensland will close its borders to residents of 77 Sydney suburbs after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared them coronavirus hot spots.
These include areas within Liverpool and Campbelltown in south-west Sydney. NRL matches have been played at Campbelltown Stadium this season.
V’landys has reportedly called an urgent ARLC meeting to determine if NRL players living in those suburbs will be exempt from the new border restrictions.
A Queensland Health spokeswoman told NCA NewsWire anyone who had been in those Sydney suburbs and was not a Queensland resident would be turned around at the border. Queensland residents would be forced into hotel quarantine for two weeks.
Rugby League supremo and Channel 9 commentator Phil Gould said the NRL is prepared to move should the situation worsen in NSW.
“What I do know is the NRL is prepared,” Gould said on Nine’s 100% Footy.
“This will not exclude moving all teams to Brisbane to a safe environment to continue the competition if they have to. They’re ready and loaded.
“They are ready to go, if in fact the borders shut again and we’re in lockdown again, Peter V’landys will pick up the teams and move them to Queensland or anywhere else he has to do to keep the competition going.
“He will do everything and anything he can to play. They’ve got it prepared. They’re ready. Planes are at the ready.”
Round 10 will take place this weekend and following that, the NRL has 10 more rounds and four weeks of finals to play.