AFL, NRL to push on with seasons despite COVID-19 outbreak

Adam Blair of the Warriors is tackled by Mitchell Barnett during the Round One NRL match between Newcastle Knights and New Zealand Warriors, 14 March, 2020. Source: AAP

Sporting competitions across the world are shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic but the AFL and NRL are pushing on with their seasons.

Australia's biggest sporting competitions, the AFL and NRL, will push on with their seasons despite the coronavirus outbreak shutting down leagues and events across the world.

The NRL will continue next week, even after the New Zealand government's border restrictions to tackle the health pandemic.

The worst-affected team, the Warriors, will base themselves in northern NSW given New Zealand's directive of a two-week isolation period for international travellers.

Stephen Kearney's team will likely host its round two game next week against Canberra on the Gold Coast.

All NRL games will be played behind closed doors indefinitely after the completion of round one.

About 80,000 people have attended opening round NRL games, with two matches to close out the weekend on Sunday.

The AFL's season-opener between reigning premiers Richmond and Carlton, a contest that normally attracts up to 90,000 fans, is scheduled for the MCG on Thursday night.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed that spectators will be locked out of stadiums indefinitely.

With just two rounds to run before finals after this weekend, the AFLW will continue without fans in attendance.

But the escalating COVID-19 issue has forced Super Rugby to be suspended after Sunday's Australian derby between the Brumbies and NSW Waratahs in Canberra.

With teams based across four countries, SANZAAR had no other option but to postpone the competition after New Zealand's announcement of travel restrictions.

Uncertainty surrounds the A-League with Wellington Phoenix declaring it would be "impossible" to host matches at home because of the country's restrictions.

Sunday's clash between the Phoenix and Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium is planned to go ahead.

The domestic cricket season could be over with Cricket Australia cancelling the final round of the Sheffield Shield.

A decision about whether the Shield decider on March 27 goes ahead yet to be made.

It comes a day after the ODI series between Australia and New Zealand was abandoned a game into the Chappell-Hadlee contest so the Black Caps could rush home.

This weekend's Australian Formula One Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday after a McLaren team member tested positive for coronavirus.

The NBL's grand final series between Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats will proceed with game three on Sunday to be played behind closed doors.

Major sporting competitions around the world, including the NBA and Premier League, have already suspended their seasons because of the coronavirus.

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