NRL restart marks professional sport’s return to Australia after coronavirus stop
Elite sport in Australia returns Thursday night with the resumption of the NRL season.
The Brisbane Broncos will host the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in the first elite sports game of All Codes since the coronavirus lockdown measures were put in place in March.
The NRL resumes three weeks earlier than other domestic competitions, the AFL is not expected to start until June 11, and the A-League has yet to announce a return date.
Australian Rugby League commission chairman Peter V’landys was ridiculed in early April when he said the NRL would resume in late May.
The competition was given the green light for a return from state officials in NSW, Victoria and Queensland on May 1 provided it follows strict social distancing protocols and players are regularly tested for COVID-19.
Players were also forced to get the flu shot, with players refusing to play unless they obtained a medical exemption from their doctor.
The NRL teams will now compete in a heavily revised season, with competition reduced to 20 out of the usual 25 and each game taking place at one of six centralized venues.
The sites – Suncorp Stadium, Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, Campbelltown Stadium, Gosford’s Central Coast Stadium, Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, and AAMI Park in Melbourne – were chosen by ARLC as they best met biosecurity protocols and requirements. geographic.
Restrictions on international travel created several headaches for Auckland-based New Zealand warriors, who were forced to move to a temporary home in Gosford, New South Wales.
While games will be played without crowds for the foreseeable future, V’landys has expressed a wish that the state and federal governments will open the doors to fans by July 1.
However, the idea was opposed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
“A lot of people are anxiously waiting (for NRL to be back on TV). I’m glad it’s bringing some normalcy to NSW, ”she said Thursday.
“(But) I can’t see (the crowd coming back) on that date.”
Ms Berejikilian’s comments came after Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone called LNR pressure to have crowds by early July as “absurd and dangerous”.
“Frankly speaking, this absurd and dangerous idea belongs in the trash of sin,” Dr. Bartone said in a statement.
“The NRL should be convinced that they have put their competition back into action, but it is unfair and unwise to put the health of the game’s fans at risk.
“They must first monitor the health and safety of the players and officials who will be involved in the heart of the action on the pitch.
“Australians have done exceptionally well in flattening the COVID-19 curve, and we’re not too far off in easing further restrictions. “
Australians should stay at least 1.5 meters from others. Check your state’s restrictions on collection limits. Testing for the coronavirus is now widely available across Australia.
If you have cold or flu symptoms, schedule a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
The federal government’s COVIDSafe coronavirus tracking app is available for download from your phone’s app store.
SBS is committed to keeping various Australian communities informed of the latest developments related to COVID-19. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.