NRL suspends competition - COVID-19 updates
Stay across the latest information for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impacts on rugby league in Australia and Europe.
We'll keep this page updated as news comes to hand.
Friday 27 March 2020
- The NSWRL have decided to cancel nine of their 13 competitions - Canterbury Cup, Jersey Flegg Cup (U20), UNE SG Ball Cup (U18), Laurie Daley Cup (Under 18s), Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup (Under 18s women), UNE Harold Matthews Cup (Under 16s), Andrew Johns Cup (Under 16s), Women's Country Championships and Men's Under 23s Country Championships. LINK
- The QRL have made a similar decision, with all four of their major competitions cancelled for 2020: Intrust Super Cup (Men's), BHP Premiership (Women's), Hastings Deering Colts (Men's U20), Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup (Boys U18). LINK
- The NRL today announced the cancellation of May's Magic Round in Brisbane. LINK
Wednesday 25 March 2020
- The NRL and RLPA issued a joint statement regarding their ongoing collaboration around player payment decreases resulting from the COVID-19 shutdown. LINK
- The Western Suburbs Magpies club, who still have teams in Canterbury Cup and Ron Massey Cup along with Junior Reps, have announced a temporary shutdown of the club. LINK
Tuesday 24 March 2020
- It's the morning after the night before. Lots to digest, most of all that there's no footy for a while. Here's our message to fans.
- Check out the responses from around the clubs, with 11 clubs releasing statements directly addressing the shutdown: LINK
- NRL club CEOs were told this morning the competition has to restart by September in order to be able to be completed. There could be as few as 15 matches under such a model, with a December Grand Final. The earliest possible date for resumption would be June 1. LINK
- The NRL has put out an FAQ on what the shut down means for everyone. We've republished that here.
Monday 23 March 2020
- Here's the official media release from the NRL - LINK
- It's OFFICIAL - the NRL has been suspended. The main points:
- Health and safety was the top priority - the NRL's biosecurity and pandemic experts told the league it was no longer possible to ensure player health and safety.
- No determined return date - it's being left open as to when the league resumes.
- All clubs and players have been briefed and asked not to train from tomorrow.
- NRL HQ is shut as reported earlier today, with staff asked to take leave til 1 May.
- The decision means the Warriors can return home tomorrow before border closures are enforced.
- V'landys reiterated from his previous press conference that this is a catastrophic time financially for the NRL and its clubs.
- Greenberg outlined they are still confident of getting the season played out.
- Live feed of that press conference is right here - LINK
- We're standing by for a 6:10pm AEDT press conference, expected to confirm the news.
- News Limited joining the party on this one, with Fox Sports and the state mastheads all providing the same report - NRL will be suspended. LINK
- Channel 9's Cam Williams says the NRL will shut down. LINK
- Fox Sports' James Hooper reporting on a potential 'two-conference system' that could keep the NRL afloat. LINK
- Reports today that NRL HQ will have to close and the competition to run with just skeleton staff.
- V'landys has confirmed the NRL is seriously considering a whole-competition relocation to Gladstone in Central QLD to ensure the premiership can continue. LINK
Sunday 22 March 2020
- In spite of the AFL's decision to stop, the NRL has indicated they plan to play on. ARLC chair Peter V'landys said "it was the Commission's intention to proceed with the competition until there is advice from government to shut down matches. LINK
- On the back of these announcements, the AFL confirmed it would stop its competition at the conclusion of Round 1.
- This morning the Morrison Government confirmed further advice regarding non-essential travel, prompting state governments across the country to go further and close borders within 48H.
Friday 20 March 2020
- The APRLC has confirmed the mid-season Oceania Cup test matches have been cancelled. It was planned that NZ would play Tonga and Samoa would host Cook Islands. LINK
- This morning the Warriors confirmed they are committed to staying in Australia as long as is needed to continue the NRL competition. LINK
- Earlier in the week, the club withdrew its side from the NSWRL Canterbury Cup should the competition resume later in the year. LINK
Thursday 19 March 2020
- The NRL has announced a player 'self-isolation program' to help limit interactions and ensure players remain healthy. LINK
Wednesday 18 March 2020
- The NSWRL has confirmed the same - their competitions are off until at least the end of May. LINK
Tuesday 17 March 2020
- QRL has confirmed their statewide competitions are on hold until at least the 5th of June. LINK
- Raiders confirm Round 6 match v Newcastle Knights will be relocated back to GIO Stadium Canberra after initially being scheduled for Wagga Wagga. LINK
- The SMH has indicated the NSWRL and QRL are set to stop all competitions ahead of this weekend, with directives already sent to cease training activities. LINK
- Reports abound that the NRL are unhappy with Cameron Smith's calls on Sunday night to suspend the season. LINK
- The RFL overnight called a halt to the season for their major competitons - Betfred Super League, Betfred Championship and League 1 and Betfred Women's Super League. LINK
Monday 16 March 2020
- The International Rugby League has released a statement indicating they will continue to monitor the unfolding crisis but as yet there are no planned changes to international fixtures later this year. LINK
- AFL press conference - that code's season will be reduced to 17 rounds. There is currently no change to Thursday's season start. LINK
- The Sydney Roosters v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles match on Saturday will now be played at Leichhardt Oval. It was originally scheduled for Central Coast Stadium, Gosford. LINK
- The AFL is set to conduct a press conference at 5:30pm - in the meantime journalists have been able to confirm their reserve grade competition (VFL) will be suspended til at least May 31. LINK
- The latest info direct from NRL and the clubs - statements posted in the last 24-36 hours:
- The QRL will meet on Tuesday to make decisions about their statewide competitions going forward, with decisions communicated Wednesday. The PNG Hunters have remained in Australia ahead of Round 2. LINK
- The NRL has released information regarding refunds of single tickets for Round 2. LINK
- Another Greenberg press conference outlined little changes in the way forward - Round 2 will continue behind closed doors as planned. LINK
- The Warriors say they are unable to offer any guarantees beyond their Gold Coast match v the Raiders this weekend. The club released a statement on Monday morning. LINK
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been quoted as saying the NRL is a "fair way down the priority list" when it comes to stimulus funding, in response to Peter V'landys' cry for assistance yesterday.
- It's been revealed Titans forward Jai Arrow tested negative for Coronavirus last week.
- The FFA has taken the NRL and AFL's path in mandating matches be played behind closed doors starting with Wednesday's match between Sydney FC and Wellington.
Sunday 15 March 2020
- 2:30pm AEDT: The Australian Government has introduced some serious new restrictions similar to what the New Zealand Government announced yesterday, enforcing 14-day self-isolation for anyone travelling into Australia from overseas. This could have significant impacts for international teams in state competitons - NSWRL (Kaiviti Silktails in Ron Massey Cup; Warriors in Canterbury Cup) and QRL (PNG Hunters in Intrust Super Cup).
- 10:15am AEDT: Strong messaging from V'landys at the press conference in that they'll endeavour to continue the competition as long as possible based on the best available advice. Financial issues will cripple the game if there's no matches, according to the ARLC chairman. Full quotes in our Twitter thread - LINK
- 10:05am AEDT: Ch 7 journalist Chris Garry says NRL will continue with Round 2 for now - with everything assessed day by day. LINK
- 10am AEDT (12pm NZDT): We're moments away from the Greenberg & V'landys presser getting underway. It's live on Fox, Kayo and NRL.com. LINK
- 8am AEDT (10am NZDT): The Warriors have confirmed that for this week at least, the team will remain based in Australia, and will host the Raiders likely on the Gold Coast next Saturday. LINK
- The NRL will hold a 10am press conference to confirm next steps. LINK
Saturday 14 March 2020
- Daily Telegraph journo Michael Carayannis reports the Bulldogs may look to switch games to Belmore if the fan shut-out extends. LINK
- 5:50pm AEDT: No change to the Warriors scenario at the moment, although news from the A-League suggests Wellington Phoenix, their NZ based team, will remain in Australia for the rest of the 2019/20 season which has about 6-7 games left and finishes late April (finals in May).
- 4:00pm AEDT: The NRL appears likely to provide an update on the Warriors' situation after the completion of the currently-underway Knights-Warriors match.
- 3:10pm AEDT: Plenty of conjecture about the Warriors' immediate future given the NZ government's travel restrictions, which require anyone from non-Pacific Island nations to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the country. This rule kicks in from midnight Sunday.
- 3:00pm AEDT: New Zealand have withdrawn from the remaining two Cricket ODI's with Australia - government travel restrictions mean they need to go home tonight. LINK
- 2:20pm AEDT: Roosters forward Angus Crichton will miss tonight's clash with Penrith with pneumonia. He tested negative for COVID-19. LINK
- 8:00am AEDT: Cronulla confirm Bronson Xerri's test is negative and he does not have COVID-19. LINK
- 11 of the 16 clubs have issued specific releases about COVID-19 and it's effects on the club's upcoming activities & matches:
Friday 13 March 2020
- Danny Weidler reports that Cronulla's Bronson Xerri is being tested for Coronavirus. LINK
- 7:40pm AEDT: PM Morrison now will NOT attend Souths v Sharks on Saturday. LINK
- The NSWRL confirms minimal impact to their competitions ahead of the weekend. Their full COVID-19 guidelines are here.
- The QRL have issued a similar statement here.
- 7:05pm AEDT (8:05am GMT): Leeds will not travel to Perpignan for Saturday's Super League match against Catalans after a player showed symptoms of Coronavirus. The match is postponed. LINK
- 7:00pm AEDT: There are doubts over next Saturday's Eden Park NRL-Super Rugby double header. LINK
- 6:50pm AEDT: Whipping around other sports again, the FFA has confirmed this weekend's A-League and W-League matches will proceed as planned. LINK
- 6:15pm AEDT: You thought the news was over? Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has tested positive for COVID-19. What that means for cabinet ministers including PM Morrison remains to be seen. LINK
- 6pm AEDT: It's been a hectic day, it's time for some footy. Follow Titans v Raiders LIVE here.
- 5:55pm AEDT: Press conference summary:
- Round 1 proceeding as normal - as per government & health authority advice
- If you've got symptoms, stay home
- Round 2 will be played behind closed doors
- NRL will support clubs and ensure none are left behind with losses incurred by Coronavirus
- Beyond Round 2 will be assessed.
- 5:45pm AEDT: QRL club Easts Tigers have implemented a range of controls to enable fans to attend their matchday on Sunday. LINK
- 5:40pm AEDT: This presser will need to start soon if it's not going to overlap with the 6pm match... meanwhile the AFL has banned spectators from attending AFLW matches from tomorrow. LINK
- 5:25pm AEDT: Still no presser from NRL HQ as yet, but it is now all but confirmed Round 1 will proceed as planned for now, with fans locked out during Round 2 based on government advice.
- 4:50pm AEDT: Ahead of the press conference, the Bulldogs have confirmed their Round 2 clash with the Cowboys will be played behind closed doors next Thursday at ANZ Stadium. LINK
- 4:42pm AEDT: Telegraph reporter Michael Carayannis reports Round 1 will continue as scheduled in full, with lockouts to apply from Round 2. LINK
- 4:30pm AEDT: The Greenberg press conference is set for 5pm. Live feed via NRL.com.
- 4pm AEDT: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is currently on a phone hook-up with the 16 club CEO's ahead of an expected press conference soon after.
- The NRL will allow tonight's games to proceed and will review the situation Saturday morning as developments continue.
- 3:40pm AEDT (2:40pm AEST): Cowboys v Broncos definitely going ahead as well. LINK
- 3:25pm AEDT: Raiders confirm tonight's Raiders v Titans match will proceed as scheduled. LINK
- 3:20pm AEDT: Morrison has issued a directive at a press conference to ban non-essential mass gatherings of people from Monday. The PM still plans to attend Souths v Sharks on Saturday. LINK
- 2:20pm AEDT: Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to give a press conference this afternoon following the 500+ person gathering advice. NRL matches remain under a cloud. LINK
- 1:50pm AEDT: Channel 7 Brisbane's Chris Garry reports that the NRL may again reconsider their position in light of the 500+ person event ban. LINK
- 1:35pm AEDT (12:25pm AEST): Cowboys v Broncos to go ahead as scheduled. Details at cowboys.com.au LINK
- 1:30pm AEDT: Nine News Sydney reports that the government will recommend events with more than 500 people not be held. LINK
- 12:05pm AEDT: Newcastle Herald reporter Barry Toohey reports that Saturday's Knights-Warriors clash is set to proceed. LINK
- Several sporting bodies in Australia as well as overseas have taken the unprecedented step of cancelling or postponing events due to the anticipated spread of COVID-19. In Australia in particular:
- F1 Grand Prix (Melbourne) cancelled LINK
- Cricket ODI Series between Australia and NZ to be played behind closed doors LINK
- The NRL has said it will wait until it receives advice from a meeting of Federal and State Governments on Friday before making any decisions around crowd measures, postponements or cancellations of NRL premiership matches. LINK
- The Australian's Brent Read reports that tonight's Cowboys v Broncos stadium opener in Townsville is set to proceed as planned. LINK
- Saturday's Round 7 Super League match between Catalans and Leeds in Perpignan (France) will be played behind closed doors. LINK
- Saturday's Jersey Flegg match between Penrith and North Sydney moves from NRL matchday at Penrith, will now be played Sunday 11am at St Marys. LINK
Thursday 12 March 2020
- The NRL confirmed the Eels-Bulldogs season opener would proceed, however released a set of guidelines to enhance game day protocols and protect players and fans. LINK
- The WHO declared the Coronavirus a global pandemic. LINK
- UK's governing body - Rugby Football League - released a statement on COVID-19. LINK