But there is mounting pressure from government officials for the NRL to delay any return, with Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy, when asked about the NRL, saying he thought it was “premature to be planning things, but that is a matter for NSW”.
The NRL had floated the prospect of border camps for the Broncos and Titans at Tweed Heads and one for the Storm at Albury if required, despite Queensland clubs remaining hopeful their players would be able to live at home when the season resumed.
Asked whether she would provide exemptions for Queensland teams to travel interstate, Palaszczuk said it would send the wrong message to the public.
“They would not meet the criteria and secondly – as I said – we would need to have clear health advice,” she said. “And I say to all the sporting organisations, let’s just take a break, let’s get this ‘flattening the curve’ under control.”
The news came as no surprise to Queensland’s NRL clubs, who were told late last week there was little chance of fly-in fly-out exemptions in the current climate.
“Things can change and things can change quickly,” Gold Coast chairman Dennis Watt said. “We’re hoping we’ve got enough time and all the work being done to flatten the curve, as they say, will reap the rewards.”
Palaszczuk’s icy response to the NRL resumption came on the same day Todd Greenberg insisted the game’s broadcast partners have not been left out of plans to relaunch the competition.
NRL officials twice met Channel Nine powerbrokers in the fortnight before the broadcaster’s extraordinary attack on head office, including Greenberg and NRL chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo talking to Nine boss Hugh Marks a little over a fortnight ago.
In his first comments since Nine accused the NRL of years of financial mismanagement and running a “bloated head office”, Greenberg said he was “disappointed” with some of the comments but would not add “fuel to the fire”.
No official from Nine, the publisher of the Herald, or Foxtel has been included on the NRL’s Project Apollo committee, which has proposed a date to restart the competition suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys will meet with Marks this week while Greenberg consults Foxtel chief Patrick Delany about the code’s broadcast deals and competition structure.
I wanted to make it crystal clear there has been a lot of consultation with those broadcast partners
“All of them have been in consultation with us leading into these Project Apollo meetings … and what we bring in 2020,” Greenberg told Nine Radio.
“I wanted to make it crystal clear there has been a lot of consultation with those broadcast partners – and to be fair there will need to be a lot more.
“We do have to push forward and make sure our industry survives. Our industry continues to do everything it can to complete its contractual obligations. We won’t take any risks along the way, but I don’t think we should be sitting around waiting for someone to tell us when it’s right.
“I think we’ve got to push our way forward and try to find a way to get the game back on.”
The NRL’s innovation committee will meet again on Friday to further plans for the competition re-start with a detailed biosecurity proposal to be sent to clubs and players later this week.
The NRL has also offered to send it to the NSW government as a courtesy, but are insistent a letter from NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirms the governing body is within its rights to re-start the season.
It remains extremely unlikely the NRL will strip teams of points from the opening two rounds despite Roosters boss Nick Politis arguing the integrity of the competition would be compromised.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.