NRL 2020: The pressing issue on the minds of returning players


“It was mainly the simple questions … can we go to the cafe and grab a coffee, can we go to the shopping centre and get some groceries. Who can you go and see and who can’t you go and see? Just simple day-to-day stuff. We got a lot of clarity, the staff as well,” Seibold said.

As for the coffee runs: “Not unless it’s essential, is what they’ve been told. For some people it’s essential. For me, it’s essential.

“But we will try and limit that type of thing. We are talking about getting a coffee van here at the club and a staff member collects it for the group.”

The NRL and clubs will go to extra lengths to ensure their star attractions remain healthy and don’t jeopardise the competition with a positive coronavirus test. But Seibold said players were still regular citizens who had to support their families and partners.

“Everyone is really clear on what is required to come into the facility from Wednesday morning and what’s required away from it as well,” he said.

“It will be a little bit strange. We can’t expect our (players’) partners to do all the shopping … there will be times when they need to go shopping, or pick up or drop off the kids at school. It’s just common sense but, really, it’s just getting some clarity around what the next couple of weeks look like.

“Hopefully, as restrictions come off in society, we’ll expect them to flow through to our game as well.”

Training will take a different shape in the initial stages, with groups of 10 only and no contact work. But Seibold has already found ways to get his players back in the swing, including the use of Oztag flags, which have been cleared by head office.

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“Ideally, we want to do as much as we can with the ball in hand. But we’ll have to do some stuff without the footy, we’ll be able to play some small games without contact. We’ve been told we can use flags, so we have to be creative in our thinking.”

Seibold said he expected a draw to be available on Friday but season planning had already been made easier by the absence of State of Origin, which will be played in November after the grand final.

“It does [make it easier] … State of Origin is incredible in the sporting calendar. I love it as a proud Queenslander,” Seibold said

“But for us, this year, not having that window where you lose players for up to six weeks … it’s not just the physical side of things, mentally it’s a bit draining as well, so to have it outside the season this year makes sense to me. It’s the right decision for this year.”

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