“The whole survival of our game is at risk,” V’Landys said.
“Some of the consequences are catastrophic. We will take every action to keep the game viable and make sure our players’ health and safety is our No.1 priority. That is our paramount objective at all times – the safety and health of all players.
“Accordingly the best advice we have received is that we can continue to play. The other main objective is for us to play the whole season.
“We need to play every game, we need to play the finals series and we need to play the State of Origins series.
“Accordingly that is our second objective. All our clubs and players are on side with that. In order for us to stay in the sport we need to introduce some new measures. The first measure is we will introduce, in conjunction with the players association and the clubs, is a self-isolation program.
“What that basically means is there is going to be only essential interaction between our players and the community. I guess that is where we are today. What decisions we make today may change tomorrow.”
For round two, the NRL will implement a number of recommendations to halt the spread of coronavirus. The two team interchange benches will be 20 metres apart from one another, with seats spread out by one metre.
Balls will be cleaned every 10 minutes, with the ball kids required to wear gloves. Extra balls will also be put in rotation, with one ball kid put into the grandstands to retrieve the balls that find their way into the empty seats.
The NRL said that blanket testing of players wasn’t currently a consideration, although the services of a private laboratory had been engaged to expedite testing and results for those displaying coronavirus symptoms.
“Our absolute focus is doing everything we can to keep the game going and meet our Telstra premiership schedule,” Greenberg said.
“The road ahead does look uncertain and disruption may take us off our course … 2020 will not be a straight line and we know that.
“I am really proud to see the unity in rugby league at the moment. Our intent is clear – to play on. We’re there for our fans, for our players and importantly our partners. We will keep standing up straight and leading the game’s position. We will get through this together.”
Newton, who is tipped to replace outgoing RLPA CEO Ian Prendergast, said the players were behind any isolation edict.
“The players have demonstrated a great deal of resolve,” Newton said.
“What I will say on behalf of the collective is that we are in this together and we will get through this by continuing to work together. By including players in the process it provides us with the best chance of protecting the game.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.