NRL clubs to relocate to Sunshine Coast amid NSW Covid outbreak
The Sunshine Coast will be one of three NRL hubs in Queensland to ensure the season is not derailed due to the continued Covid crisis in NSW.
All nine Sydney-based teams as well as the Canberra Raiders, Newcastle Knights and New Zealand Warrior, currently at Terrigal, will relocate to dedicated hubs by Wednesday and play home matches out of either Sunshine Coast Stadium, Suncorp Stadium or Cbus Stadium.
All Queensland based clubs, along with the Melbourne Storm will continue to be based and play home games out of their current home cities.
It’s understood the teams heading to the Coast will stay at the Novotel Twin Waters.
The NRL is finalising arrangements with the Queensland government to ensure every club has access to appropriate facilities at each hub.
Clubs will be flown on charter flights to Queensland and comply with Apollo Protocols and public health requirements to ensure no risk to the state.
Every club will be permitted a maximum of 41 players and staff while in Queensland.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys says the Commission’s decision minimised the risk of the competition having to be suspended and protected the livelihoods of players and the many other people who generate their income from the game.
“The Commission has conducted an extensive risk assessment and it is clear from the current data trends that the risk to the competition is too great to continue playing in NSW right now. We are seeing close and casual contacts with links to our game on an almost daily basis,” he said.
“Queensland presents much lower risk. The Commission is doing everything we can to keep the competition going."
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo says the league’s Apollo Team is ready to implement the relocation.
“We have planned for all scenarios and we are ready to implement hubs in Southeast Queensland to ensure the continuity of the competition. We will finalise the exact locations that teams will be based and the updated schedule in the next 24 hours,’’ he says.
It comes as NSW recorded 77 cases on Sunday with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian predicting cases will hit more than 100 today.