The National Rugby League (NRL) will introduce new Level 4+ protocols as part of an agreement with the Queensland Government for Round 20 of the NRL Telstra Premiership to be completed tomorrow and Monday.
Super Saturday’s games will be transferred to a Super Sunday at Suncorp Stadium, headlined by a 4.05pm Storm v Panthers blockbuster. Sunday’s fixtures will move to Monday to ensure the entire round is completed ahead of Round 21.
For the duration of the Southeast Queensland lockdown, Level 4+ protocols will be implemented which include the use of one venue, daily testing of players, compulsory masks for all staff and officials not playing as well as reduced personnel at games.
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys AM thanked the Queensland Government.
“I want to personally thank Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, State Government officials, and in particular, Dr Jeannette Young for allowing us to present the most stringent biosecurity protocols which when implemented will ensure there is minimal to no risk in allowing our matches to be played with no crowds,’’ he said.
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said he was looking forward to the competition resuming tomorrow.
“Our competition will resume tomorrow with a triple header at Suncorp Stadium, followed by a double header on Monday,’’ he said.
“This will ensure we complete Round 20 and can move to Round 21 as scheduled. I would like to thank the Clubs, both players and officials for their flexibility, teamwork and co-operation in adjusting to the new stringent protocols and the revised schedule. I also wish to thank Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany and Executive Director of Fox Sports Steve Crawley for allowing the rescheduling of the Grand Final rematch as a simulcast match on both Nine and Foxtel tomorrow.”
Mr Abdo said the new Level 4+ protocols would provide additional health and safety insurance to the Queensland community. He also acknowledged the teamwork and co-operation of all Clubs, players and officials for their flexibility and commitment to the changes.
Clubs have been advised that players or officials who make a substantive breach to protocols face being immediately removed from the competition, including being removed from the State for non-Queensland based Clubs.
“Our games will be played under the toughest protocols since the competition resumed on May 28 last year. These protocols further minimise the risk of community infection. We’ve proven over the last two years that we can play safely and the additional measures agreed to tonight will further enhance that.”
All 5 games will be played in an empty stadium and players and officials will remain under the protocols for the duration of the lockdown.
The remainder of Round 20 will be scheduled at Suncorp Stadium as follows:
1.50pm: Knights v Raiders
4.05pm: Storm v Panthers
6.25pm: Dragons v Rabbitohs
6pm: Bulldogs v Titans
8.05pm: Sharks v Sea Eagles