Matt Pritchard takes a look at the ever evolving relocation of New South Wales clubs, the Canberra Raiders and New Zealand Warriors.
It’s been a manic last few days for the National Rugby League, having to relocate the State of Origin to the Gold Coast; and the NSW clubs including Canberra and Gosford-based New Zealand Warriors to Queensland for at least four weeks.
Here’s the current state of play. We’ll update this as official news gets filtered through from the NRL. The game is currently in an agile state and you can expect further developments to happen quickly.
Which teams are relocating and where?Embed from Getty Images
Every New South Wales based club: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers, St George-Illawarra Dragons, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers. Additionally, the New Zealand Warriors who are located at the Central Coast and Canberra Raiders.
It’s most likely the Raiders are relocated in part because of Victoria’s decision to ban people coming in from NSW and the ACT. Clubs to arrive in Queensland by Wednesday and be based out of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast. Allocations are yet to be announced.
The Sydney Morning Herald are reporting the following hubs have been established:
Sunshine Coast (Novotel Twin Waters): Panthers, Knights, Sea Eagles, Roosters Gold Coast (Mercure): Eels, Bulldogs, Rabbbitohs, Raiders, Warriors Brisbane (Novotel Southbank) : Dragons, Sharks, Tigers
How long will the clubs be in Queensland?
Currently the NRL is saying four weeks, but that may be extended due to a longer lockdown in the Greater Sydney area. We are thinking of all those affected by the lockdown.
What happens with the draw?Embed from Getty Images
The NRL have committed to the next four rounds remaining as is with the fixtures, dates and times unaffected. Melbourne and the Queensland sides will play at their normal venues. However, the venue for those clubs relocating will be decided in due course. Those games will be played at Suncorp Stadium, CBUS Stadium or Sunshine Coast Stadium. We will provide an update once Round 18 match venues are locked in.
Will the games relocated be able to host fans?
Reports suggested the NRL and Queensland Government were in talks about whether fans could attend. There was some talk that fans would not be permitted for at least the first three weeks. The NRL have clarified this and said “At this stage, crowds are permitted in Queensland and Victoria”.
What happens with the NRL Grand Final?Embed from Getty Images
It’s way too early to call, but there’s already social media sentiment towards Queensland hosting Grand Final. Queensland have shown they are capable of safely hosting AFL teams and were rewarded with that decider in 2020.
“The Queensland government have been magnificent supporters of the NRL. I have to give a huge debt of gratitude to the Queensland premier (Annastacia Palaszczuk).”, Peter V’landys told News Limited site Daily Telegraph on Sunday.
More information coming soon.