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NSW deputy premier John Barilaro is getting more confident by the day that the NRL will become the first sporting code in the country to return to action.
The league is forging ahead with plans to relaunch its season in late May following high-powered meetings with broadcasters on Friday.
It remains unclear how many games will be played and how much the networks will be willing to pay for a restructured competition.
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However all parties agreed on aiming for a return to action on May 28, with teams pencilled in to recommence squad runs in just 16 days time.
Barilaro this week met with ARLC chairman Peter V’landys, NRL boss Todd Greenberg, and ARLC commissioner Wayne Pearce over their plans to return. An official pitch is expected to be tabled to the state government next week, and Barilaro is buoyed by the case the league will make.
“Some of the insight that I got, I am so confident every day,” Barilaro told The Continuous Call Team on Saturday.
“(After) the green light from the broadcasters, I’m getting a little bit more confident every day that Peter V’landys may just pull this off.
“But we’ll still go through the process internally, make sure people are safe.”
The inclusion of the New Zealand-based Warriors remains a significant hurdle due to international travel restrictions on both sides of the Tasman. Warriors boss Cameron George is hoping they arrive in time to begin training on May 4, but is first demanding answers on a number of key issues. Among them include player renumeration, competition structure, and whether families will also be able to be housed with the team.
“Once that comes to light, we’ll be better equipped to make the right decision,” George told Fox Sports News.
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“And then we get to Australia, we can train with every other club from the 4th of May on. That’s our goal, notwithstanding a lot of water to go under the bridge.
“We’re very ambitious about being there and share the optimism with everyone else around that this game can get off the ground on the 28th of May.”
Should the Warriors be granted an exemption to fly into Australia, they are likely to be forced into a two-week isolation period upon arrival. But there is a push for the side to train in isolation, with the NSW far north coast town of Lennox Head mentioned as a possible location.
George said every option is on the table, but conceded there would be no point being housed far from Sydney if no games were to be played in Queensland. Understanding the restrictions during isolation is the key.
“When we do that, we’ll certainly be in a position to understand where we should be located, and for how long,” George said.
“It also depends on whether the interstate borders remain shut.”
The NRL will be looking to finalise discussions with broadcasters early next week before its innovations committee sits down on Wednesday.
Originally published asNSW government ‘so confident’ the NRL can ‘pull off’ its May 28 comeback
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