The NRL intends to continue its season into round three despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to chief executive Todd Greenberg.
Officials are under growing pressure to suspend the campaign after the AFL, which sits alongside the NRL as Australia’s two biggest competitions, opted to do so on Sunday.
But the NRL plans to continue its 2020 season despite the growth in coronavirus cases in Australia, amid concerns over its financial viability should games be stopped.
“I think that in community standards the virus is going to continue to get more difficult for us to combat so I think as a community and as a country it’s going to get more difficult,” Greenberg told Triple M on Monday.
“What that means for us I’m not sure, I think if we’re realists what I said last week stands is that 2020 won’t be a straight line, I think we’re going to have some bumps in the road and I think we’re going to get stopped occasionally from here and there.
“But in saying that we’re not going to just roll over and just take it as it is at the moment, we’re going to try and keep the games going.
“It’s very important for a variety of reasons and also to make sure that we keep our industry afloat, so where we can play and where there’s no good reason not to play, we’re going to keep trying. That’s certainly the position of both [Australian Rugby League Commission chairman] Peter V’landys and I as we stand here this morning.”
— NRL (@NRL) March 23, 2020
Greenberg said the NRL had been “encouraged” by federal and state governments to continue playing, providing fans with a distraction amid uncertainty.
With round three scheduled to start on Thursday, Greenberg added further talks with government officials were due on Monday.
“We’re going to keep trying. We haven’t given up hope just yet,” he said.
“Our circumstances we think are a little different to the AFL, although in saying that though we are going to take some advice today form both federal and state government and obviously our health experts and if we can continue to play, which is what our desire has been all the way along, then we will do so.”