The NRL and its clubs have signed off on players spending Tuesday absorbing new biosecurity guidelines before resuming group training on Wednesday. Players on Monday returned to their club’s headquarters and were educated on the strict protocols designed to ensure the resumption of the season on 28 May.
Tuesday will be used to implement any necessary domestic changes, such as how players without driving licences can commute to training. The development comes after another high-powered meeting with NRL officials, club chiefs and the Rugby League Players Association on Sunday evening.
RLPA boss Clint Newton spent Sunday afternoon updating club representatives of the situation before discussions with the NRL and club executives later that night. It is understood some of the protocols include random door knocks from the league’s coronavirus officers enforcing biosecurity laws.
Newton will receive feedback from union members on Monday as the game works towards getting back on the field later this month.
Players will be able to access one-on-one meetings with coaches or continue rehabilitation on Tuesday, before squad sessions resume the following day. Training will be limited to groups of 10 and contact is banned until restrictions are expected to be reviewed later this week.
The current restrictions are in line with Level B of the staged return to professional sport under the framework outlined by the Australian Institute of Sport last week. The next and final stage will allow full contact training, giving teams just a fortnight before an anticipated round three of the competition.
“It’s a great day for rugby league to see our squads assembling for the first time since the competition was suspended,” ARLC chair Peter V’landys said. “And I’m grateful to clubs and players for the commitment they’ve shown to ensure the competition resumes on 28 May.
“Every player participated in an education day which explained our strict biosecurity protocols to ensure players understand what they can and cannot do. Our protocols are substantially stricter than the current government measures, and we wanted to ensure the first day was devoted to educating our players. They know the future of the game rests with them complying with our protocols.”
It is believed an official announcement is imminent on a new pay deal for the players, guaranteeing them 80% of their annual salary.