NRL seeks assurances over Queensland border closures, AFL teams fly north

Australia World

The NRL wants the Queensland Government to confirm that its New South Wales-based clubs will still be exempted from the latest border closures.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that the state will close its borders to all residents of Greater Sydney from 1:00am on Saturday.

While the league has previously been exempted from restrictions on previous COVID-19 hotspots, it must re-apply each time Queensland tightens its measures.

Earlier in the season, Melbourne Storm relocated from Victoria to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast due to border restrictions between Victoria and the rest of the country.

Canterbury’s trip to the Sunshine Coast next weekend in round 13 would be the first game under threat.

The NRL previously had to force players back into a tight bubble on both sides of the Tweed River given the threat of a second wave of coronavirus.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys insisted that for that reason, the new measures imposed by Queensland should not be an issue.

“The latest advisory from the Queensland Government doesn’t affect us at all – the competition will go ahead as per normal,” V’landys told News Corp.

“We’ve had no further conversations with the Queensland Government, they have already given us a letter asking us to reinstall our strict COVID protocols, which we have done.”

The New Zealand Warriors have been based in New South Wales since the season resumed.

Meanwhile Sydney’s two AFL teams, GWS Giants and Sydney Swans, will accelerate their plans to leave New South Wales.

An AFL player grasps the ball in one hand as he runs forward, while an opponent tries to tackle him.

An AFL player grasps the ball in one hand as he runs forward, while an opponent tries to tackle him.

The Giants and Swans were set to leave Sydney this weekend for three weeks, but may now be forced out for longer.(AAP: Paul Miller)

GWS, who face Gold Coast on Sunday, will now fly out on Thursday afternoon.

The Giants and Sydney were already both playing their next two games in Queensland before heading to a hub in Western Australia, but the border closure means they won’t be able to return home after round nine.

Super Rugby AU will also be impacted, with two teams, Western Force and NSW Waratahs, both based in Sydney.

The Waratahs are set to host the Rebels at Leichhardt Oval on Friday.

The Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies, who take on the Queensland Reds on Saturday, are based in Canberra.

Super Netball already made the decision to base all its teams in Queensland earlier this month. Its season starts this weekend.

ABC/AAP

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