“It’s an ambitious date but you have to set a target,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m confident they can have a plan in place, and can get the health experts to sign off on it. It’s not against the rules. They have every right to try and return. It’s an ambitious date but it is one worth trying to get to.
“We are seeing a decline in [new] infections. I will be meeting with the NRL again this week. I am happy to be the conduit for government. I am a supporter of trying to get it back and running.”
Former Penrith general manager and Nine commentator Phil Gould told The Today Show that May 28 was “probably optimistic, I would say, but you’ve got to start somewhere”.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out Brisbane hosting a State of Origin game during the coronavirus pandemic, saying she hopes the interstate series is scrapped this year.
Palaszczuk refused to support a mooted plan to send Queensland clubs to Sydney in order for the NRL to restart on May 28, saying she is “really concerned” about the health risk to players.
A vocal critic of the NRL’s plan to resume the competition late next month, Palaszczuk upped the ante on Tuesday when she said this year’s Origin series won’t be played during the pandemic.
“I love the footy as much as everyone else. I think it’s devastating we’re not going to see the State of Origin this year as well,” the Queensland Premier told Nine Network.
The NRL meets with broadcasters today.
Gould said: “I think the broadcasters need to be included on whatever is the future of this game. I know that Hugh Marks is extremely committed to Channel Nine and the long term future of Channel Nine. I have great confidence in the [ARLC] chairman Peter V’landys and I think their meetings will be quite significant in the future of the game.
“They have to work out a long-term plan as well as what they do in the short term and I think they’re the two best people to do it.”
Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said on Monday that the proposed start date was “ambitious” and “I think we need to be really cautious about the circumstances we are in”.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller and Health Minister Brad Hazzard also say the NRL faces “work health and safety” hurdles before the season can resume, and the code says it can be flexible with the May 28 date.
AAP, staff reporters