Full-contact, collision rugby league is to make a comeback when Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) restarts its interrupted season with the Brisbane Broncos hosting Parramatta on May 28.
NRL chief executive officer Andrew Abdo yesterday announced the revised draw for the third and fourth rounds, more than two months after the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports in most parts of the world have been shuttered because of the pandemic, with tentative returns of baseball leagues, with the CPBL in Taiwan and South Korea’s KBO League, and soccer in South Korea leading the way.
Crowds were allowed into games in the first round of Australia’s NRL season in March, but barred from the second round after the Australian government imposed strict social distancing measures to help limit the the number of COVID-19 cases.
The competition went into recess from March 23 because Australia and New Zealand closed their borders. There are to be no fans allowed in match venues when the season resumes, at least in the short term.
“Today we have released the next two rounds of the draw to provide certainty for clubs, coaches and players so they can plan for the coming weeks,” Abdo said, adding that the remainder of the draw was being finalized.
“Rugby league is so important to so many people. We hope that the football resuming will bring some positivity and excitement back to our fans and the wider community,” he said.
Players and coaching staff from the New Zealand Warriors are based north of Sydney after returning to Australia to prepare for the season relaunch after spending 14 days in quarantine, during which time they were allowed to train.
The Warriors, who were nicknamed the “Nomads” on their return to Australia, are to reopen with a game against St George-Illawarra on May 30.
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