You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
NRL and Origin return to Queensland: 'We won't let Premier down'

NRL games will return to the Sunshine State when the competition resumes after Queensland-based sides were given approval to resume training and travel by the Palaszczuk government.

The Broncos, Cowboys and Titans are set to be granted exemptions for group training from Monday following Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's backing of the NRL's proposed May 28 restart date.

The prospect of Queensland clubs hosting round-three games in a restructured draw - to be finalised in the next two weeks - has also been approved by the state government, with Palaszczuk indicating Suncorp Stadium will also once again be available to host at least one Origin fixture in November.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys and respective Queensland club CEOs were informed of the state government's endorsement on Friday afternoon. The Premier also delivered a stern warning following high-profile cases of players flouting social distancing rules earlier in the week.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. ©NRL Photos

"I said I was as keen as anyone else to see the NRL return and I meant it," Palaszczuk said.

"The only condition was that it did not put our excellent work containing the spread of COVID-19 at risk and the Chief Health Officer advises that the NRL plan is workable.

"First-round games will be played in Queensland and of course I put in a bid for a local grand final and we all look forward to hosting the State of Origin."

After providing the Queensland government with its 40-page biosecurity draft document last week, the NRL gave further assurances that "home-quarantine measures" would prevent any further breaches.

RLPA CEO Clint Newton said the players were aware of their responsibility to ensure there were no more incidents involving social distancing.

"We've got to respect the process the governments are working through," he said.

"They've got some significant obligations for the broader community but the players and game are no doubt grateful to the Queensland Premier to allow the players to train and travel from Queensland.

"We were hopeful but the necessary steps were required to get the green light on that.

"That's always been the outcome that we were trying to provide the players, to have the least disruption to their daily lives as possible. To be given the opportunity to prepare for the season ahead."

V'landys was thrilled with the government granting permission to proceed.

"This is a critical decision for rugby league and a win for the players, clubs, fans and the wider community," V’landys said.

"I can’t express enough our appreciation to the Queensland Government. I have great respect for the Premier and it is a tribute to her strong leadership that she has kept an open mind through this process.

"The Queensland government has done a great job containing the virus and we won’t let them down.

"We are implementing the toughest of health and safety protocols for our players and staff to protect their health, and that of the community.

"I have stressed the importance of this with our players and staff and they understand that for the future of our game, they will be expected to adhere to higher standards than the general public.

"We will not let the Premier, or Queensland, down."

Parr: We are delighted to remain in Townsville

The Queensland government's significant endorsement comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said authority for the return of major sporting codes would rest with each state, not the National Cabinet.

"Ultimately those decisions will be made in those states but they'll do so on the set of consistent medical advice and that should assist those codes and how they're progressing those issues," he said.

Morrison reiterated that official approval for the Warriors to fly into Tamworth and isolate before a return to training and playing matches was resting with Australian Border Force officials, and would be ruled upon in due time.

The ABF issued a statement on Friday after his media conference: "The [Warriors] application is still under consideration pending endorsement of national principles from the National Cabinet meeting today."

On Saturday morning, the ABF granted clearance for the Warriors to travel to regional NSW, which V’landys described as "an excellent outcome for rugby league and another step towards the competition resuming on May 28".

"As a game we cannot thank the Warriors enough for everything they are doing. Right from the start of this pandemic the club and its players have put the competition first and for that we will be forever thankful."

Melbourne meanwhile are awaiting clarification from the Victorian government on restrictions around group training that will dictate whether they are able to resume operating out of AAMI Park.

Bailey's Bunker: The referee rebuilding fire-ravaged regions

If Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, Craig Bellamy's squad will shift across the NSW border to Albury or Mulwala, where the team would be under a strict self-isolation regime from Monday to Friday before returning home to Melbourne on weekends.

The Prime Minister was also quizzed about grassroots sport and said it would be brought back in a phased manner, initially involving small groups in outdoor pursuits.