Sport NRL rules points will stand, with training to resume on May 4

NRL rules points will stand, with training to resume on May 4

Officials at the NRL headquarters in Sydney are upbeat about restarting the season on May 28. Photo: AAP
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Points from the opening two rounds of the NRL will stand with all clubs able to return to training on May 4 before next month’s planned restart.

The NRL confirmed on Wednesday all teams would have a three-week pre-season before the competition resumed on May 28.

Strict new biosecurity measures will be a focus of the return, with harsh penalties to be in place for anyone who flouts the rules.

Players have so far been able to train at home gyms and individually, but the change in rule means they can come back to their club bases as a full squad.

The development followed Wayne Pearce’s Project Apollo meeting on Wednesday morning and a late-afternoon telephone hook up with all 16 club chief executives.

“We reaffirmed that May 28 is the starting date for the competition. We also confirmed that teams will be able to train from May 4,” Pearce told reporters.

“The competition points earned in the first two rounds will also carry over to the extended competition.

“Everyone is supportive of what we’re doing. It is very unified around what we feel is right for the game, and we feel getting back on the field is right for the game.”

NRL action, such as Parramatta’s Mitchell Moses feeling the full force of Dean Britt’s tackle, is expected to return on May 28.

Clubs had previously agreed not to resume to training until the Warriors were able to do so, with the club still stuck in lockdown in New Zealand.

Lockdown measures will ease across the Tasman next week, but the club are still yet to gain a travel exemption to arrive in Australia.

Players and staff are also likely to have to remain in quarantine for two weeks once landing, however there is some chance the NRL could push for them to be able to train.

Effectively that would be the only way the Warriors could resume training at the same time as other clubs.

“We’re working through all those details, we haven’t finalised that yet,” Pearce said.

“We are working with the government authorities to get them over here, get them through a quarantine period and have them ready with the other teams for the start of the competition.”

Storm’s Suliasi Vunivalu can resume training in Melbourne on May 4. Photo: AAP

The full structure of the competition also remains up in the air, with discussions between the NRL, Nine and Foxtel still ongoing.

Pearce was unable to confirm on Wednesday when the grand final was scheduled and whether State of Origin will be played during or after the club competition.

There remains a school of thought that Origin could be pushed back to as late as possible in the regular season, which would allow for matches to be caught up if required.

Meanwhile, Pearce also revealed the NRL are hoping interstate players will not have to relocate and set up camp in NSW.

At this stage, none of the three Queensland-based clubs will be able to travel back and forth across the border while the Victorian government’s position is unclear.

“As of today, those teams would have to come into camp in NSW,” Pearce said.

“But the landscape is changing pretty quickly. The government authorities are very supportive of what we are looking to do.

“Because we actually are looking to hold ourselves to a very high standard. It will certainly exceed what community expectations are.”