NRL to be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus

James Gordon

The second round of the NRL will be played behind closed doors, but the remaining first round games will go ahead as planned.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a ban on public gatherings of more than 500 people as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morrison confirmed he plans to attend Cronulla’s clash with South Sydney on Saturday.

There are four other first round games still to be played – Newcastle against New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters trip to Penrith, Manly’s game with Melbourne and St George-Illawarra’s clash with Wests.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said: “We’ve listened to the authorities who are in a far better position than we are.

“If the government gave us advice today to close the stadiums down we would have. The measures they’re putting together are precautionary measures.

“We’re going to do everything we can to protect players from the disease. If that means a club can’t play a game in the competition or be stood down for the round we’ll do that.

“It’s going to have significant financial impacts on all 16 clubs and the game.

“We’re in unprecedented times. If they’re in financial difficulty we’ll keep them afloat. We’ll get through this together.”

The NRL has already issued guidance to clubs to minimise contact between players and supporters, instead encouraging players to acknowledge fans from distance.

Access to changing rooms has been restricted to players and match day staff only, and the NRL has been in dialogue with the players’ association, RLPA.


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