Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys says the NRL is at no risk of being shut down despite having to cancel its three Saturday fixtures amid Queensland’s Covid-19 outbreak.
All 16 NRL clubs are currently based in the Sunshine State, but when the Queensland Government announced a ban on sporting fixtures during its current three-day lockdown, the competition was thrown into chaos.
As a result, Saturday’s games between the Rabbitohs and Dragons, Knights and Raiders, and Storm and Panthers have been postponed.
V’landys, who was the chief architect behind the NRL’s smooth operation through 2020, remained positive despite the challenges posed by the lockdown, which will affect 11 LGAs in South East Queensland.
“There is no threat to the competition,” he told NewsCorp on Saturday afternoon.
“We have postponed today’s games following consultations with the Queensland government and we are trying to reschedule the games for Sunday.
“We are in continuing dialogue with the Queensland government and hopefully we can continue the round on Sunday.
“I’m not worried about the game being shut down. There are a number of options we can work through and this is a short-term problem that I believe we can fix.”
V’landys said the NRL’s current plan was to reschedule one of Saturday’s postponed fixtures for Sunday and the other two for Monday.
There is still uncertainty as to whether the two games currently locked in for Sunday can go ahead in Redcliffe and on the Gold Coast as planned.
On Saturday, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said his side would remain flexible in the face of uncertainty.
The Panthers, like all other clubs, have reverted to the NRL’s Level 4 Biosecurity Protocols, which require players and staff to remain in their hotel rooms unless training, playing or completing an essential household task.
“It feels like we’re getting back to the old days where you’ve just got to adapt and kind of do your best,” Cleary said.
“We’ll be sitting down this afternoon and trying to work all that out and when we find out when we’ve got to play.”
Cleary’s Dragons counterpart Anthony Griffin conceded that the circumstances were “crazy” but said that his side would not be deterred by the last-minute changes.
“We’ve just got to maintain our preparation for today. We could be on a plane in the morning, we just don’t know where we’re going,” he said.