Club responses: NRL season shutdown

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As clubs release messages directly addressing the NRL's shutdown of the competition due to the spread of COVID-19, we'll have them all right here.

The Canberra Raiders support the NRL's decision today to suspend the competition due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and assure members and fans of the club that the Raiders will be doing everything they can to make sure they are ready to go once the competition resumes.

Raiders CEO Don Furner said although the news today was extremely disappointing, the club respects the decision and would best prepare as they could to return to the field when they are able.

"Although we're disappointed with the outcome of today's decision, we agree with the NRL that the health and wellbeing of our players and staff remains paramount during these tough times," Furner said.

"We will be working through the implications of this decision over the coming days, but I can assure all of our members and fans that we will be doing all we can to ensure the future of our club."

"We want to thank all of our Raiders family for their messages of support during this period. We will endeavour to keep you updated when we have more information."

Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart said although the game faced a huge challenge, it was not limited to just rugby league and the Raiders.

"Rugby League has bounced back from many challenges before and I know the united approach from the clubs and game will see the game return when we can," Stuart said. "This is a hard time for not only rugby league but all of society and we want to wish all of our members and fans the best during this tough time and we will see you on the other side."

These are indeed difficult and challenging times.

Never in the 100 plus year history of rugby league has it faced a threat of this kind. It is of course not only rugby league but the broader community that is having to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19 and the disruption to our daily lives. Our thoughts are with those who have taken ill or perhaps even lost a loved one to this virus. On behalf of Wests Tigers we extend to you our deepest sympathies.

As you may now be aware, the 2020 NRL season has been suspended indefinitely. The NRL has received advice from its bio-security and pandemic experts that a continuation of the season poses an unacceptable and significant risk to the health and wellbeing of our players. This has always been of paramount importance to the NRL and Wests Tigers. In those circumstances there was no alternative but to suspend the competition.

It remains the intention of the NRL to ensure, as far as possible, that all 25 rounds of the 2020 season are played together with a finals series culminating in a Grand Final. This may mean an extension of the season well beyond the usual finishing date and Wests Tigers fully support the NRL in the taking of such a decision.
All community rugby league affiliated with the NSWRL has been suspended until at least 1 May 2020. All major NSWRL competitions have been suspended until 31 May 2020. Community rugby league involves more than 100,000 grassroots players across the state, from under-6s to open age.

The NRL and Wests Tigers are a part of a broader community that has been impacted by this pandemic. All of us are facing extraordinary challenges. It is times such as these that strength is found in numbers and at Wests Tigers, we know that we can rely upon the resilience and support of our corporate partners, members and fans, as has always been the case, to enable us to survive these challenges.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, the executive team, coaching Staff, administration and all of our playing group, I extend to our members and fans our heartfelt appreciation for their support during these difficult times.

We very much look forward to enjoying rugby league together again as part of our Wests Tigers family.

Thank you,
Lee Hagipantelis

Brisbane Broncos Coach Anthony Seibold has thanked the club's members and supporters for their support in the face of the COVID-19 virus threat - and vowed to have his team ready to roll if and when the premiership resumes.

The NRL today took the unprecedented step of suspending the season due to the global pandemic.

The Broncos started 2020 with strong wins over the Cowboys and Rabbitohs and trained this morning as they prepared for Sunday's derby against the Gold Coast Titans, but all football has now been put on hold indefinitely.

    "when the competition gets underway again, we will be ready to play"
    Anthony Seibold

Seibold said: "The health and safety of our players and staff and the wider community is the priority at the moment, so we'll abide by the decision and we'll get briefed over the next few days on what the competition my look like next.

"We'll brief the players after we get information on the possible contingencies from the NRL, when the competition may start again - we've got some plans in place that will keep the group working towards our performances in the back end of the year, or whenever the competition restarts.

"On behalf of the Broncos we really appreciate all the members and our supporters, and wider rugby league supporters, for their support in what has been a really challenging period for not just people in rugby league but in the wider community in some unprecedented time.

"Hopefully over the first two weeks of the competition we helped put some smiles on Broncos members' and supporters' faces and stick by us and know that we will be well planned so that when the competition gets underway again, we will be ready to play."

Dear Supporters,

By now you would have heard the news that the Australian Rugby League Commission has decided to indefinitely suspend the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This decision was made after advice from the NRL's pandemic and biosecurity experts.

They advised the NRL that, due to the rapid rate of infection with the COVID-19 virus in Australia, the NRL can no longer guarantee the safety and health of its players.

Right from the start of this crisis, the Gold Coast Titans have been fully supportive of the NRL in their direction and handling of this extraordinary situation.

That support remains absolute in light of this unprecedented announcement this afternoon.

As a Club, we are currently working through the details of this decision and the next steps we will take on this historic day for rugby league in this country.

A conference call between the NRL executive and all 16 NRL clubs will take place at 9am tomorrow (Qld time) where we will be told about what this decision means, the ramifications of it, and the next steps for all of us moving forward.

As soon as we have more information, we will let you know.

On behalf of everyone at the Gold Coast Titans, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support of the Club and the rugby league as a whole as we navigate this situation.

As always, our primary concern is with the health and safety of our players, staff, supporters and fans.

Please continue to follow the government's guidelines around hygiene to minimise the impact of this global health crisis.

Stay safe, where possible stay home, and show compassion to the people around you.

We look forward to life returning to normal as quickly as possible, and rugby league returning to the field just as quickly.

Steve Mitchell
CEO, Gold Coast Titans

Melbourne Storm this evening has agreed with the NRL's decision to suspend the 2020 season, effective immediately.

Storm CEO, Dave Donaghy, said: "At all times, Storm has put the health, safety and wellbeing of its players, staff, members and fans at the forefront of its approach to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

"The NRL has tonight made the right call in suspending the season, given the seriousness of the situation.

"Like many others in businesses, industries and the general community, this is an incredible and unprecedented challenge.

"All of us will feel the impact of this pandemic and I'd like to thank our members, sponsors and corporate partners for their enormous support, understanding and well wishes."

Dear Members,

As you may have heard tonight, due to a change in the advice from the NRL's medical and bio security experts, the 2020 NRL season has been suspended effective immediately. This means that our players will not attend training from tomorrow and our next scheduled game against North Queensland Cowboys has been postponed.

There is a meeting scheduled for 9:00am at the NRL tomorrow to understand the key next steps and to better understand the impact of today's decision.  Once we have further information, I will provide an update on our Club's position.

As I said yesterday, everyone in our community is facing a challenge that no one could have been prepared for, and we understand as a Club and community that the priority at this time is to follow the recommendations from the health experts and support our friends, colleagues and families.

Everyone involved in our Club is proud to work for our organisation and most importantly serve you - our Members and supporters.  We will meet this challenge head on and I am sure that we as a Club will come through the other side and ensure the Parramatta Eels remain at the forefront of our game and community for years to come.

Stay safe, and thank you again for your support.

Go the Eels,

Jim Sarantinos
Member number 1478933

The Vodafone Warriors are tonight working to bring their NRL staff and players home from their northern New South Wales base after the Australian Rugby League Commission's decision to suspend the 2020 NRL premiership indefinitely in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George said all efforts were being made to book flights for the team and staff as soon as possible.

The Vodafone Warriors announced last Friday they were committed to continuing in the competition as long as it was running but tonight ARLC chairman Peter V'landys and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg jointly announced the suspension after two rounds had been played.

"It's a disappointing time but we anticipated it would reach this point at some point soon," said George.

"Our priority now is to fly the players back home to Auckland to be reunited with their families.

"In terms of the club's short and long-term future, we have much to work through and to consider.

"Clearly this crisis has already had a huge financial impact on the club and we face some real challenges but our owners are committed to ensuring the Vodafone Warriors survive this."

George said announcements would follow in due course.

Dear Sea Eagles Members

The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles support the NRL decision to suspend the 2020 season.

Whilst disappointed by this news, the safety of our players and staff will always be our number one priority and so, when the advice of the NRL's biosecurity and pandemic experts changed, the NRL made the right decision.

We now need to take stock of this decision and its consequences for our Club. We will work through these details with the NRL and the other Clubs over the coming days. I will provide you with further information once we have done this.

On behalf of all of us at the Sea Eagles, I thank you for your unswerving support, patience and well wishes.

We are a very proud and successful Club with a rich history. We must now face this latest battle. We will do this with great strength and character. And we will do this TOGETHER.

That's always been the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles way of tackling adversity and challenge.

Stephen Humphreys
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles CEO

In what is a difficult and ever-changing landscape I just wanted to update you on the current situation at the Bulldogs.

It is fair to say that the game has never faced a bigger challenge than what is ahead of us right now.

It runs far deeper than rugby league and is something that the whole community will have to deal with and work together to come through.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those already affected through illness or the loss of loved ones and we send our greatest sympathies on behalf of the Bulldogs.

As many of you would have seen yesterday, the NRL season has now been suspended indefinitely. Despite the efforts to continue the competition, the advice from pandemic experts was that the risk of playing on was too great and created a potential threat to player safety.

The NRL, like all the clubs, has always made player safety the defining factor around this issue.

At this stage the future of this year's competition is unknown. The NRL has expressed a desire to complete the full draw, which would mean an extension far beyond the current provisional finishing date, but at this stage nothing can be determined until there is further information from the experts on when this might happen.

All rugby league that comes under the banner of the NSWRL has also been suspended until at least 31 May 2020.

The Club will be operating with minimal staffing levels for the immediate future until further notice is provided regarding the resumption of the competition. I ask that you are patient if you require contact with the Club in the coming weeks.

To help us get through these difficult times we need our members, fans, corporate partners and sponsors to stick together and show the resilience that the club has been renowned for over the years. We are being impacted by something that is affecting the whole community and everyone will need to stay strong together.

As we get more information we will continue to update you and make sure that you stay well informed.

We appreciate that everyone is suffering right now and we understand the uncertainty that exists for the whole country.

On behalf of the Board, the Executive team, Coaching staff and all of our playing group, we extend our gratitude and appreciation for your support during these difficult times.

Kind regards,
Andrew Hill

The nib Newcastle Knights are saddened but agree with the NRL's decision to suspend the 2020 season, effective immediately.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our players, staff, members and fans is always the top priority in the wake of the COVID-19 virus threat.

We are in the process of gathering more information on what the competition may look like when we can resume play.

But until that time, we want to assure our members, fans and sponsors that we will be doing everything we can to make sure they are ready to go once the competition resumes.

Our players want to play. They love the game and they wanted to continue.

Like many businesses and sporting organisations, we face a challenge.

This pandemic is bigger than sport. This is something society is fighting.

This is a trying time for our country. We will fight this together and come out the other side.

We want to thank all of our supporters for their kind messages during this period. We will endeavour to keep you updated as we have more information.

We also want to take this time to thank our sponsors for their enduring and unwavering support. Without the likes of our Principal Sponsor nib, and fellow sponsors McDonald Jones Homes, Mining NSW, O'Neills, Red Energy, McDonalds, Awabakal, Mine Super, Bryden's Lawyers, Kelly Trotter Motor Group, Coca-Cola, Tooheys, Benedict Recycling, Westfield Kotara, Allara Learning, University of Newcastle, Toshiba, MusclePharm, NBN, Triple M, Newcastle Herald, New FM/2HD, oOh!media, Cypress Lakes, Bauerfeind, and 2NURFM, not to mention our myriad of Club 17 and corporate hospitality partners, the challenges we face right now would be all the more daunting.

In times of adversity, Knights supporters show their best self.

You are resilient people. Our players and staff are too.

We hope our opening two performances made you proud and we can promise you, this is only the beginning.

We are united in this and appreciate your patience and understanding.

To our members, partners and fans,

Along with each and everyone one of you, we find ourselves in unchartered territory, searching for the right words to convey the many thoughts and feelings we are experiencing following the NRL's decision to suspend the 2020 season.

As a club we are completely supportive of this decision which prioritises the health and wellbeing of our players and indeed our whole community, above all else.

However, our hearts ache for all of those who are a part of the Cowboys family and will now be impacted by this decision. We understand that our club touches so many people in so many homes and businesses, across not only North Queensland, but all of Australia.

Please know our team is working feverishly behind the scenes to provide the answers that you are all so desperately seeking. This process is no doubt complicated by the uncertainty of how long our games will be suspended, but we are working through the many different scenarios so that we can be in direct contact with our many stakeholders as soon as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding - the support you have shown our players and staff as well as each other is helping immeasurably and sustaining us through this incredibly challenging time.  

We will be in touch as soon as we can.

Jeff Reibel
Chief Executive Officer

The NRL's official statement can be viewed here.