The giant cost to keep the NRL running amid the temporary relocation to Queensland has been revealed, with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo making it known that any player who breaches the strict protocols will be sent home immediately.
The NRL announced the relocation of all NSW and ACT-based teams on Sunday, which will see 12 clubs make the dash to Queensland for at least one month on Wednesday as NSW battles a growing outbreak of COVID-19 in the state.
The NSW government announced 112 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the last 24 hours, and it could mean the NRL’s remaining eight rounds of the home and away season, along with the finals series, could all be played out of Queensland if numbers don’t improve in the near future.
Rugby league guru Phil Gould, now a consultant for the Warriors, revealed the New Zealand-based club, who have been based on the Central Coast, has now made plans to see out the season in Queensland as the NRL gets set to fork out as much as $15 million dollars per month to keep the season running with its relocation.
“I think we will be up there for the rest of the season and I think we will have our grand final and finals series up there. I can’t see it changing,” Gould told Nine’s 100% Footy.
“I know the Warriors will stay there… they’ve made the move permanently [to Queensland] until the end of the season, until such times when they can get home to New Zealand.
“This is a huge, huge operation, massive. If [the NRL] can pull it off it will be a credit to them.
“They’re ballparking at around $12-$15 million dollars a month.
“It’s going to tap them out financially. It’s a big expense, but they’re determined to keep the competition going.”
In the wake of the infamous Dragons house party breach and Jai Arrow’s Origin exile, in which the league’s COVID-19 protocols were broken, the NRL CEO confirmed any player who breaks the rules will be immediately sent home under the advice of the Queensland government.
“We’ve seen some disappointing decision making by different groups of players… those players have been sanctioned and we’ve made it clear they aren’t the standards we will accept,” Abdo told 100% Footy.
“The Queensland government has been pretty clear in their guidance to us: If someone breaches the rules, or we see a breakdown in those protocols, they will be asked to leave the state.
“You can’t get much clearer than that. I hope we don’t see any breaches from here on in.”
V’landys addresses NRL relocation
Fortunately for the competition, Abdo revealed not only will some players be reunited with their families after 14 days of isolation, but it’s expected clubs will go back to level one restrictions after the first two weeks of the Queensland relocation.
“The good news is, we do the 14-day quarantine and then after that, in theory, we will have all our players that are based Queensland, essentially on level one or pretty much in line with the state government’s protocols,” Abdo said.
“That will be good from a wellbeing perspective, from a recovery, from a preparation and training perspective and some of them will be fortunate enough to have their families with them.
“The fact we have temporary high-performance centres and the fact we’re going to have clubs together in a single facility, it’s going to be unusual and it’s going to require us to be super disciplined and organised.”
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