• The NRL has suspended the season indefinitely. (AAP)Source: AAP
The National Rugby League has suspended the 2020 season indefinitely after the governing bodies' health experts say player safety could be compromised
By
Jodan Perry

Source:
NITV NEWS
23 Mar 2020 - 6:56 PM  UPDATED 23 Mar 2020 - 6:56 PM

Australian Rugby League Commissioner Peter V'landys has confirmed The National Rugby League season has been suspended immediately with no time frame placed on when it will possibly return.

"This decision hasn't been taken lightly but we have a world renowned pandemic expert and they are very, very concerned at the rapid rate of this infection."

Mr V'landys and the game's leaders fought hard over the past fortnight to keep the season alive but in the end, advice from pandemic and biosecurity experts was that the competition could not continue.

"We will look at how we can recommence the season, be it in other areas, be it in northern Queensland, all of the options are still on the table. We thank the players for all their support to date and we also thank the fans," he said

"This decision hasn't been taken lightly but we have a world renowned pandemic expert and they are very, very concerned at the rapid rate of this infection."

A potential move to Queensland to house the competition was on the cards but the state government's decision to close it's borders today scuttled the idea.

"it's catastrophic. I dont think we've ever come across a financial crisis like this,"

The game's leaders will now have to work with stakeholders to assess the impacts of the decision, which will likely financially cripple the code. Mr V'landys said that the Commission will be doing everything in it's power to ensure the viablility of all sixteen NRL clubs if the season is to return.

 "I cant guarantee it [the NRL] will be in the same way as it is this moment .. we're ready for the worst and we have to look at dealing with the worst," he said.

"it's catastrophic. I dont think we've ever come across a financial crisis like this,"

"We have some pretty tough decisions to make in the next few weeks, but the main objective is to keep everyone in our game viable."

The National Rugby League's head office will now close down until May 1, with all staff told to go on annual leave. There will be talks over the coming days with the game's broadcast partners as the next quarterly payment to the governing body is due at the beginning of April.

"It's a deeply sad day but one of the most responsible in our games history."

NRL Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg flagged massive cuts right across the code including pay cuts for players, staff and himself.

"the cost base will need to be reset across the entire sport, from players to clubs, central administration, everyone has a role to play in resetting the cost base," he said

"It's a deeply sad day but one of the most responsible in our games history."

All clubs and players have been informed of the decision, with players told not to turn up to training tomorrow. All self-isolation measures are still in place.

Mr Greenberg says despite the announcement that he is confident the competition is not a complete wipe out at this point in time.

"We have scenarios we might not start until much, much later but we're still very confident of getting a season away. No-one knows what's ahead of us," he said.

We cannot say with any certainty what the future holds but rugby league community as a whole will continue to work through this as a team ... We're talking about rugby league tonight but there's a much broader issue facing our country. We need to be aware of that."

The game could be "in a very, very dark place"

Former Brisbane Broncos captain Corey Parker told Fox Sports he was emotional to hear the news, saying it was still pretty raw.

"It makes you feel sick to the stomach." he said.

With the Australian Football League also shutting down and today standing down approximately 80 per cent of it's staff, Parker says the ramifications for stakeholders in the National Rugby League are also set to also be huge.

"the game could be on it's knees ..... it is a reality it could be a possibility,"

"I've got friends across all different clubs ... there's effects on family, effects on welfare, everyone is in this up to their eyeballs, it could be in a very, very dark place," he said.

"the game could be on it's knees ..... it is a reality it could be a possibility,"

"From a player's perspective I'm not real sure the majority really understand where we are at .. but we are all in this together and hopefully we can pull through the other side."

Manly Sea Eagles forward Joel Thompson also reacted to the news on Twitter saying "that hurts but like most tough times in life, we will come through it."

Jodan Perry is the host for NITV's flagship Rugby League programme 'Over the Black Dot' which airs every Tuesday 830pm.