“Due to the rapid rate of infection, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our players to continue to play,” V’landys said. “Accordingly, we are suspending the season.”
The suspension of the competition, which was one of the last in the world still running, follows that of the AFL, which announced on Sunday it was on hold until May 31.
The NRL had planned to play round three matches as late as Monday morning. Hours later, it was announced the competition would be indefinitely suspended.
“It is a deeply sad day but one of the most responsible days in our game’s history,” Greenberg said. “We would not have reached this point unless the conditions had shifted so dramatically and so exponentially.
“Today is a difficult day for the rugby league community, both here at head office and across all our clubs and players. Our priority is to do everything we can to give our game the best chance for a long and sustainable future. We have briefed all of our clubs this evening and all of our players have now been told.”
V’landys was not sure what state the competition would return in.
“Rugby league will survive in some way. I can’t guarantee it will be in the same way it is at the moment. No one knows. No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last,” he said.
“We’re ready for the worst and we are going to look at dealing with the worst. That’s exactly what we will do in the next couple of weeks.”
“We will sit down with the clubs over the next week to look at how they’re affected. This is a financial crisis. You can’t understate it. It’s probably the biggest financial crisis the game will ever face in its history.
“But, co-operatively and united, we will deal with it and hopefully we will come out the other end.”
And while V’landys said the game would do its best to keep all clubs viable, there is no guarantee they will all survive while games aren’t played.
“We will do our best to keep all our clubs viable,” he said.
“As I said at our Sunday press conference, we’re a family. We’re a rugby league family. And when one needs help, we will support them. We will do everything in our power to ensure every single one of our clubs remains viable and exists.
“We have some pretty tough decisions to make in the next few weeks but the main objective is to keep everyone within our game viable.”
The news that the competition was being put on hold came on another eventful day at League Central in which almost all staff were told to take annual leave until May 1.
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Chris Barrett is Sports Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.