You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Professional approach: Players will be ready to go - Newton

RLPA chief executive Clint Newton says "it's a credit to their professionalism" that the NRL players will be ready to go whenever the competition resumes.

Newton, who is part of the eight-member innovation committee which will meet for the second time on Thursday morning, is backing his players to be able to continue showing resilience as they have done recently as the coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc with the Telstra Premiership.

The ARL Commission will meet later on Thursday after receiving a briefing from the innovations committee.

With the COVID-19 infection rate falling below 2% from around 23% when the competition was suspended less than three weeks ago, there is growing optimism that the season can be restarted midway through the year although the NRL has not indicated what the return date would be.

"I think if we had this issue half a dozen years ago or longer we might've been in a much more vulnerable position," Newton said.

"But given the professionalism of the playing group and how they've continued to demonstrate that even when we have increased their leave entitlements in previous years the clear majority still come back in really great condition.

Bailey's Bunker: The experience that humbled lucky Ponga

"Which is why in the last few years from round one it doesn't look too dissimilar to round six or round 10 whereas previous years the first month there was sometimes a softening-up period where players were trying to condition themselves.

"The players will be ready to go like they were in round one and that's a credit to their professionalism and standards that they continue to prioritise their playing career."

ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce, who is heading up the innovations committee, has indicated all options would be explored, including the prospect of the 16 teams being split into conferences and the possibility of setting up "bubble" environments in locations such as Sydney's Olympic precinct and South-East Queensland.

A lot will depend on government restrictions on travel among the relevant states as well as the Australian and New Zealand governments.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday that her government would monitor the effects of the restrictions in place for the state and "assess that on a month by month basis".

Deputy Premier John Barilaro told Nine: "If the NRL can put forward its measures and its protocols, we will work with them and we'll make sure we can get through season 2020.

"I think the NRL is the tonic that we need to get through this virus."

How well do you know the Eels with RCG

Warriors players have indicated they are prepared to base themselves in Australia and self-isolate as necessary with NRL negotiations around potential travel exemptions continuing at government level.

New Zealand’s daily rate of new infections is down to 50, its lowest total in a fortnight. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said: "I remain cautiously optimistic that we are starting to turn a corner" but has given no public indications on the easing of government restrictions.

Former premiership-winning coach Phil Gould said on his podcast, Six Tackles with Gus, that he favours bringing players to Sydney as his preferred scenario.

Kicking tips with Shaun Johnson

"Simply because there are nine teams living in Sydney. Those teams could return to their homes," he said.

"We don't have to completely isolate them in motels and in complete shutdowns in isolated areas.

"If they are safe in their homes at the moment, then going to and from training or games shouldn't be a difficult ask. And that would alleviate some of the cost and some of the pressure on the players as well."

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Major Sponsor

Premier Partners

View All Partners