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NRL close to finalising competition restructure: V'landys

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys is hopeful of having the competition structure finalised on Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest as the NRL pushes ahead with its May 28 restart plan.

V'landys continued discussions with broadcast partners, Channel Nine and Fox Sports, on Monday.

He is hoping to have the Warriors' situation sorted within a similar time frame.

The chairman told the Sydney Morning Herald that he was confident the Warriors would be allowed to fly into the country by the end of the week to set up a training base in northern NSW.

The Warriors need to resume training by next Monday to be in line with the other 15 teams preparing for the Telstra Premiership's resumption at the end of the month.

The NRL has been working with the federal government to get the Warriors into the country and also needs to get the go-ahead from the NSW government to allow the Warriors to train together during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone entering Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We appreciate the federal government working with us to obtain a possible exemption to allow the Warriors to come into the country," V'landys told the Herald. "We are now working with the NSW state government to get approval that will allow them to train while in isolation."

NRL Classic: Storm v Warriors - Round 7, 2009

Lennox Head had been floated as a potential temporary base for the club but Channel 10 has reported that Tamworth is the likely location.

The ARL chairman is adamant a precedent was set last month when utility backs Peta Hiku and Gerard Beale, as well as forwards Jazz Tevaga, Agnatius Paasi and Josh Curran – who all missed the team’s season-opening loss to Newcastle due to injury – travelled into the country from Auckland.

They flew in to spend a fortnight in isolation to add future depth to the squad while it remained in Australia, initially to play in the round-two clash with Canberra.

However, the entire Warriors squad returned home the following week after the NRL suspended the Telstra Premiership on March 23.

V’landys is hopeful of receiving an answer from the NSW government by Tuesday or Wednesday on whether the Warriors will be granted an exemption to train together so they will be able to prepare for the May 28 restart date in accordance with the other 15 teams.

The future of the rest of the NRL and other elite sporting competitions will not be certain until Friday at the earliest when the national cabinet reconvenes to discuss the latest measures in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was asked at a media conference on Monday about the landscape for sport with the NRL, the AFL and other sports from the elite down to the grassroots level looking to restart play when safe to do so.

"These will be matters taken up by the national cabinet because we know it doesn't affect just one code, it affects a number of codes, it affects community sport," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday.

"The Prime Minister and all the state leaders felt it was appropriate to have a national response to these matters.

"But we also appreciate the various codes have put in their pandemic plans, which some health officials are going through.

What national cabinet determines will guide a lot of the codes.

Gladys Berejiklian

"But I would suggest that what national cabinet determines will guide a lot of the codes and a lot of the sporting organisations into what expectations they can manage moving forward."

The NRL is planning to meet with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week to work through the involvement of the three Queensland teams - Brisbane, North Queensland and the Gold Coast - in the rescheduled competition.

She has already been presented with a detailed plan on the NRL’s extensive biosecurity measures.

While the May 28 restart date has been agreed upon by the NRL and its broadcast partners, Channel Nine and Fox Sports, the competition structure is still yet to be finalised.

V’landys has indicated State of Origin is set to be played at season’s end - that enables the Telstra Premiership to play from restart to finish without any breaks for the representative calendar and also gives officials greater hope of being able to have fans in attendance for the marquee interstate contests.

The Project Apollo innovations committee will reconvene on Wednesday to discuss feedback from the clubs about the biosecurity measures that will need to be in place for players and staff when the NRL kicks off again.

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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