An ARLC has set a target return date of May 28 for the NRL, which has been suspended since last month.

Coronavirus: NRL planning to restart on May 28


The NRL is planning to resume on May 28, the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has announced.

The competition was suspended after just two rounds on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with earlier games having taken place behind closed doors.

ARLC chairman Peter V'landys said this week he was confident of the season restarting on June 1 but after a call including representatives of all 16 clubs on Thursday it was decided to resume even sooner.

ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce, who is heading up the innovations committee, said: "I'm pleased to announce we're planning a competition start on May 28.

"The details on the competition structure we haven't got yet because the landscape is changing around government boundaries. That will feed into the complexity structure.

"Today what we landed on was a starting date.

"We haven't finalised what that [competition] looks like yet. Why we want to firm up a date is to give certainty to players and their schedules, clubs and thousands of people who are out of work through clubs and millions of fans.

"It's a mark for everyone to work towards that's associated with the game."

The NRL has been keen to find solutions to get the league up and running as soon as possible due to fears of the financial implications on its teams.

On Friday, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said all ideas were on the table, while the NRL and Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) also reached an agreement on a revised pay deal for players last week, ensuring two months' worth of wages and payments.

It was also agreed that due to the postponement of the 2020 season players will surrender five out of 12 months' salary if the NRL is unable to resume.

A return to playing would be a significant boost and Pearce said the decision was reached due to a decreasing rate of infection in Australia.

"Because we're talking about seven weeks away the landscape is changing significantly," Pearce said.

"It was only a few days ago it was looking like we were having to go into an isolation bubble scenario with the support of a state government who are doing a fantastic job.

"The rate of increase in infections has come right down."

Pearce, who said players had been involved in the process, also stated there are no plans as yet to change the structure of the league this season.

"We're leaning towards a competition structure that looks more aligned with what we've currently got. We're not going to the conference scenario at the moment," he said.

"We've currently got support from the New South Wales government in terms of if we adhere to public health guidelines and make sure our players follow those guidelines we are able to train and play provided we have strict measures around testing the players and put other protocols in place to minimise the risk of infection within the playing group and community."



Super League matches called off

Snow leads to Super League postponements

Three Super League matches which were due to take place on Thursday and Friday have been called off or put back.


Smith undecided over future

Storm skipper Smith undecided over future

Cameron Smith is in no rush to decide whether he will play on in 2019 ahead of the new NRL season.


Wigan rally to beat Widnes

Wigan fight back to beat Widnes, two sent off as Hull defeat Warrington

Rampant Wigan Warriors scored six second-half tries to beat Widnes Vikings, while Warrington lost at Hull FC.


Thurston's Cowboys up and running

Thurston's Cowboys up and running, Pearce enjoys dream Knights debut

Johnathan Thurston made his 300th NRL appearance and a record-breaking 271st for the Cowboys as they beat the Sharks on Friday.


Percival shines in Saints win

Percival treble ensures Saints stay perfect

St Helens rolled on in their impressive start to the Super League season, with Mark Percival starring against Warrington Wolves.


Top Headlines

Football

Cricket