The NRL has suspended its season indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced on Monday.
Despite being adamant it wanted to continue, the NRL confirmed it was stopping its campaign, having finished round two on Sunday.
Stricter travel measures across Australia led to the AFL suspending its season, while Queensland announced it was closing its borders from Wednesday, in a blow to the NRL.
“Due to the rapid rate of infection, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our players to continue to play,” Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys said at a news conference on Monday.
“That’s the paramount consideration in all our decision-making, is the safety and health of our players.
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg address the media. https://t.co/5h8FRYZB4L
— NRL (@NRL) March 23, 2020
“Accordingly, we are suspending the season. We aren’t going to put a time period to the suspension, we are going to look at every available option to us in the next week or so as to how we can recommence the season. All the options are still on the table.”
NRL offices are now closed until May 1 and players have been told not to turn up to training on Tuesday.
“Our situation has changed dramatically,” NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg added.
“We have made the unprecedented decision to suspend the 2020 season. It is indeed a deeply sad day but one of the most responsible days in our game’s history.
“We would not have reached this point unless the conditions had shifted so dramatically and so exponentially.”
The Warriors had committed to playing the rest of the season in Australia due to travel measures in New Zealand.
It means the A-League is the only sporting competition still going in Australia, with a game between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City scheduled for Monday.