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Protests could boost NRL bid to bring fans back next weekend: V’landys

“If that continues on for the next week or so – especially after the protests – well, you can pretty well say the risk is next to zero. There is then no reason we can’t have crowds in the grounds.”

When crowds return, whether it be next weekend or July 1, V’landys is hopeful they will not be capped.

The NRL hopes to have grounds full of fans by July 1.

The NRL hopes to have grounds full of fans by July 1.Credit:NRL Photos

“From the 1st of July, the talk is that it will be unrestricted,” he said. “We initially thought it might be capped but there is now some talk that it could be like New Zealand, where there is no restriction. But again, that’s all based on data.”

V’landys’ latest push to bring the NRL back to normality was heavily criticised Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone, who slammed the plan to have crowds back within weeks.

Dr Bartone said there was concern from medical experts that the community would become “frustrated and disenchanted” with COVID-19 restrictions if they saw huge crowds return to NRL games, but grandparents unable to watch kid’s weekend footy.

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“Where you’ve got different measures, it leads to community misinformation and poor decision making,” he said. “That’s why it is important whatever measures are put in place that they are consistent and they are sensible and the public and the community can see the reason behind it.”

V’landys returned serve.

“He just does this for publicity, I think. As I’ve said to you, we base everything on data. What is he basing his statements on?” V’landys asked.

“He makes these statements but he doesn’t substantiate them with anything. What proof does he have when he makes these statements? He has none.

“It’s simple for people to make outlandish statements but he needs to back them up. That’s my comment to him. Back it up. He hasn’t backed anything up. Back the alarmist rhetoric with some facts.

“Make your statements factually based, not publicity statements.”

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