Hours ago, the NRL announced it is suspending play indefinitely and the New Zealand Warriors’ CEO Cameron George is doing everything in his power to get his players out of Australia and back to New Zealand.
The stoppage by the NRL seemed the right thing, even though, to some, it was the last remaining vestige of some sort of sense of normalcy in times that are anything but normal.
Australian Rugby League Commissioner Peter V’landys announced the decision Monday evening and while he described the decision to suspend play as catastrophic, it is important to remember that the entire world is currently enmeshed in what could rightly be described as a catastrophe.
Warriors’ CEO George has told the media, “My focus as it has been when this all started 10 days ago has been about the players and their families. We’ll look to get the players home ASAP, to be back with their loved ones.”
The New Zealand government had put travel restrictions in place that would have prevented the Warriors from returning from Australia.
The NRL had already taken the step of moving the Warriors’ game with Canberra to Gold Coast. The club had played its opening game to the Telstra 2020 NRL Premiership competition in Newcastle.
The Warriors’ Round 3 game was to have been with Manly in Sydney. The club’s first home game was to have been with Wests in Auckland.
All the Warriors’ players and staff will have to spend 14 days in isolation when they return, but with Australian states going into lockdown, the NRL had zero choice over whether to keep playing.
Speculation is rife over the future of the NRL at the moment. There have been suggestions that when play resumes, a conference system might be enacted to alleviate the necessity for interstate, and in the case of the Warriors, international travel.