The NRL is locked in crisis talks to save the remaining five games in Round 20 after the Queensland government announced the strictest lockdown in the state’s history.
Queensland’s decision to initiate a three-day COVID lockdown immediately put three Saturday and two Sunday games at risk.
While the Chief Health Officer said there would be no NRL games in Queensland over the weekend, the NRL has asked the government to hold emergency talks to explore other avenues.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
– Queensland enters strict three-day lockdown;
– NRL games cannot be played in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast this weekend;
– Rabbitohs vs Dragons, 3pm Rockhampton, has reportedly been postponed;
– NRL puts all 16 clubs in the level 4 biosafety protocol;
– Rabbitohs stranded on airplanes after landing in Rockhampton but told them they could not get off;
– Dragons return to the team hotel;
– Knights vs Raiders, at 5:30 pm at Suncorp Stadium, allegedly relocated to Townsville;
– NRL CEO Andrew Abdo planned to call all 16 clubs at lunchtime.
– The Queensland Rugby League has canceled all Intrust Super Cup and Hasting Deering Colts games for this weekend.
The NRL responded immediately to the decision by placing players and officials from all 16 clubs in level 4 biosecurity protocols and instructing everyone to return to the hotel and wait for more information.
The Rabbitohs vs Dragons game currently scheduled for 3pm in Rockhampton has been reportedly postponed while the other four games are also fraught with uncertainty.
Australian Brent Read told Triple M that the game between Rabbitohs and Dragons has been postponed and can be played on Sunday. He also confirmed that the Rabbitohs were on their way back to their center on the Gold Coast.
The Rabbitohs landed in Rockhampton shortly after the lockdown was announced but were unable to get off the plane while the Dragons returned to their team hotel.
Canberra has emerged as an option for left field to host this game.
Saturday’s Knights-Raiders fight has reportedly been relocated to Townsville.
The Storm and Panthers should also compete against each other at Suncorp on Saturday night.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs and Titans were supposed to compete at the Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, while the Sharks and Sea Eagles were supposed to finish the round in Redcliffe.
Watch the 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership Live & On-Demand without commercial breaks during the game. New to Kayo? > Get your 14-day free trial now and start streaming right away>
Six new local cases were confirmed Saturday morning, forcing State Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles to announce their strictest lockdown Queensland has ever had.
“The NRL today put all 16 clubs on level 4 biosafety protocols,” read an NRL statement.
“All clubs have been instructed to inform their players that they will return to the team hotels and stay in the team hotels until further notice.
“The NRL is working with the Queensland government, clubs and broadcast partners to determine the best course of action for today’s Games.”
Broncos overtake cowboys in derby | 02:25
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young was asked during her press conference on Saturday if the NRL games were going to be played.
“No, there won’t be any football games,” she replied.
“So no community sport, no professional sport, nothing for the next three days. Today from 4:00 p.m. “
According to reports, the NRL is currently in emergency talks with the Queensland health authorities to obtain an exemption for running games.
News Corp’s Dave Riccio reports that the NRL will be on the phone to all 16 clubs at lunchtime while Michael Carayannis says the Dragons’ flight to Rockhampton is delayed and the Rabbitohs were in the air on their way to Rockhampton when the lockdown broke news .
The NRL is expected to review all options, including rescheduling games for regional reasons, immediately suspending the competition, or even playing games mid-week if the lockdown ends after three days.
According to Carayannis, the NRL scored a minor victory when the Knights-Raiders battle moved to Townsville – an area that is not under lockdown.
Meanwhile, Riccio reports that the game Rabbitohs-Dragons could be played in Canberra.
As the NRL scrambles to make plans for the games, Australian Brent Read Triple M said the Rabbitohs are pending to hear an update on their game, which is set to start at 3pm.
“The Souths landed in Rockhampton, but they are not allowed to get off the plane. They are confident that their game continues, ”said Read.
The Dragons are now back at their hotel and are also waiting for an update.
Get the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Join Now!!!
There’s more to come