Rugby

NRL could resume with players living together on remote island resort

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A picture taken on March 20, 2020, shows a view on Hotel Fleur d'epee beach in Gosier, alsmost empty after its closure, on the French overseas island of Guadeloupe, as a strict lockdown comes into effect to stop the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.

Image credit: Getty Images

ByEurosport UK
03/04/2020 at 08:33 | Updated 03/04/2020 at 09:37

National Rugby League teams in Australia could be facing the prospect of living together on a remote island in a bid to get the season restarted.

The NRL has been postponed after two rounds of matches due to the coronavirus pandemic and talks are under way on how they are going to resume the season.

The Australian Associated Press report that the most feasible option is for players to be taken to a remote island location and then shipped to games without any contact with the general public.

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One suggestion has been to house all 16 teams at a luxury island resort near Brisbane, with the entire competition then played at stadiums in Queensland.

Rugby League Players Association boss Clint Newton, who has a seat on the NRL’s innovative committee, said players were willing to consider all options.

“We’re willing to explore all options for players, provided first and foremost the players are going to be appropriately protected and kept safe, and do what we can to ensure they are not put at any adverse risk,” Newton said.

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“If that means that possibly we find ourselves in a situation where we would be playing in various locations then the players have obviously demonstrated in the first few weeks [of the shutdown] that they’re prepared to explore all options.

“It’s just again about how are they going to be impacted, how are they going to be protected, and is this of any greater risk than what they’ve been going through? And then how is the player and their family going to be properly supported through that process?”

David James, the manager of the Tangalooma Island Resort in Brisbane, explained how the idea would work.

“We’re off the coast of Brisbane and we want to go through a process with the NRL and the Queensland government – and the NSW government for that matter – whereby we’re testing players before they come into an isolated, clean, Covid-free environment,” he told Fox Sports.

“From there, we do the training and then we can ship them back into and out of Brisbane to the Gold Coast and to Redcliffe to play their games and then back into the isolated area.

“We’ve got a fleet of high-speed ferries and catamarans ... bus charters would be organised from our wharf in the mouth of the Brisbane River that would take people straight into the stadiums.”

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