The NRL is racing to produce a league-restart master plan before the ARLC meets on April 21, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Members of the league’s innovation committee and its new infectious disease expert will meet on Monday to continue to hash out the details of a return to rugby league as early as the end of May.
Players could be accommodated in a secure location one NRL innovation committee member has promised would be “the safest place on earth”.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and ARLC chairman Peter V’landys have two weeks to prepare before the ARLC hears their blueprint for the league’s revival.
‘‘We’ve got some of the game’s best minds around the table under the stewardship of commissioner Wayne Pearce,’’ Greenberg told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘They have all been tasked with coming up with different solutions and opportunities for the game to consider. We will also need to consult independent medical and biosecurity experts. That work has already started and we’ll be progressing again this week, ultimately to provide a report for Peter and I to take to the commission in the middle of April.’’
If the go-ahead is given at the commission meeting on April 21, teams could return to training as early as April 27. After a four-week mini pre-season the game could return as soon as Thursday, May 28.
Discussions focus on housing players at up to four “bubble” communities within an area such as south-east Queensland, with Brisbane, Kingscliff and the Gold Coast all mooted as potential locations.
The NRL is expected to receive military advice, comparing the ambitious isolation project to the long-term deployment of navy sailors. Measures like league conferences and quarantine stations would be implemented to facilitate the isolation of players showing the first signs of symptoms of COVID-19.
‘‘If one of the conferences goes down with the virus, then you’ll isolate that conference for a number of weeks, then you try and figure out how you make those games up whilst not stopping the competition,’’ Greenberg said.
‘‘We have all that modelled. You can be assured that we’ve figured out how many five-day turn-arounds it would be and how many mid-week games you’d need to make up games.’’
The NRL has long reiterated the league will do whatever it takes to avoid the worst-case scenario of a cancelled season.