Each club will be forced to submit a list to the NRL of players and staff who will be required to undertake an online COVID-19 infection control training module this week. All will then be required to adhere to the NRL’s biosecurity measures thereafter.
Only people on the list will be allowed access to each club’s training facility, which will have just single access and two people checking the temperatures of those entering each day.
The NRL clubs were seeking clarity on Sunday night whether that meant no external contractors could be used for security and cleaning purposes, with League HQ stipulating the daily cleaning of football and goalpost pads.
Players will be forced to isolate at home and will be allowed to leave their approved premises only for essential household and medical needs. They will need to confirm their daily whereabouts and people they have come into contact with each day as part of 24-hour checks to ensure they haven’t breached guidelines.
Players have also been banned from using public transport and must travel to and from training alone in a private motor vehicle, unless granted an exemption in exceptional circumstances.
Exercise outside the home is also set to be prohibited unless it’s for club-approved training.
Club bosses were wanting more information on the effect of the measures on the families of players and staff, some of whom who could have jobs interacting with the public such as nurses and teachers.
The NRL is yet to provide more information on how gameday and travel measures will apply.
Australian Rugby League Commission Peter V’landys issued a press release on Sunday night supporting prime minister Scott Morrison’s phone tracing app, which government officials insist will not compromise the privacy of its users.
But he stopped short of confirming it would be used by every player and staff member who signs up to the COVID-19 rules.
The Herald has been told by sources familiar with the NRL’s biosecurity measures that players will be encouraged – rather than made – to download the app.
“This app is a simple, genius idea that can help protect public health and eradicate the virus,” V’landys said. “We absolutely believe in the importance of the community health message and are proud to work with the government to promote it far and wide.”
This app is a simple, genius idea that can help protect public health and eradicate the virus
Said Rugby League Players Association boss Clint Newton: “The RLPA will always explore anything that may enhance the health and safety of players, their families and the wider community.
“We will continue discussions with our leading players in the coming days regarding the role they can play in supporting the COVID-19 app.”
The NRL’s biosecurity measures could be used by the federal government to help draft their own return-to-play guidelines for elite and community sport.
It comes as the NRL still waits for an official exemption from Border Force to allow the Warriors to fly into Australia and spend two weeks in quarantine as a group while training, potentially at an enclosed facility at Lennox Head on NSW’s far north coast.
A decision is expected within days.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George on Sunday confirmed every player in Stephen Kearney’s squad had initially made a commitment to fly to Australia for the season relaunch. It’s despite the prospect of families not joining them until later in the year.
The Warriors are due to arrive in the country next Sunday and all 16 coaches have agreed they won’t start training until everyone is cleared to do so.
The NRL is also hoping strict workplace exemptions and border controls in both Queensland and Victoria will be relaxed in coming weeks to allow the Cowboys, Broncos, Titans and Storm to train in their home states.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.