What border ban means for NRL’s immediate future

 

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys says the NRL competition is not in jeopardy despite the Queensland government's move to close borders to Greater Sydney residents from 1am on Saturday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the decision to close the borders to Sydney is necessary to protect all Queenslanders following COVID infection spikes in Victoria and New South Wales.

But V'landys dismissed concerns for the NRL premiership and the potential relocation of Queensland-based teams the Broncos, Titans, Cowboys and Melbourne, saying the beefed-up border controls will not affect NRL players.

V'landys said NRL players will be allowed to continue to travel between Queensland and NSW on private charter flights due to special exemptions granted by premier Palaszczuk.

It comes as the Sydney Swans and GWS Giants made immediate plans to evacuate Sydney to keep their AFL seasons alive.

Sharks play Broncos on Friday
Sharks play Broncos on Friday

"The latest advisory from the Queensland government doesn't affect us at all - the competition will go ahead as per normal," he said.

"We've had no further conversations with the Queensland government, they have already given us a letter asking us to re-install our strict COVID protocols, which we have done.

"We ordered the players back into lockdown in NSW and Queensland a few weeks ago and all players are observing the protocols.

"Nothing has changed. When they gave us the first exemption, the whole of NSW was banned, not just Greater Sydney.

"The Queensland government approved our original protocols when the borders were closed the first time."

V'landys assured Broncos, Titans, Cowboys and Storm players there are no immediate plans to relocate them to New South Wales.

"No, there are no plans at all to recolate the Queensland teams," he said.

"We are confident the NSW and Queensland governments have this under control and the infection rates are a lot less now than when we first got approval for border travel.

"While our exemptions are in place, we will continue will all charter flights to Queensland and back."

Cronulla play the Broncos on Friday but will return before the boarders close as part of the NRL's chartered flights.

As it stands, the NRL have been able to continue to operate despite restrictions growing in Queensland in recent weeks.

Originally published as What border ban means for NRL's immediate future