Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys feels the NRL should not have stopped as the league prepares to return following the coronavirus outbreak.

Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels will restart the 2020 season behind closed doors on May 28 after the competition was postponed through two rounds on March 23 due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world, bringing sport to a standstill, but Australia has managed to control the spread.

And V'landys claims Australia's premier rugby league competition should have continued amid the crisis.

"Racing has proven that you can continue on and if I had my time again, quite frankly, we wouldn't have stopped the rugby league," V'landys told News Corp.

"I don't think we were any risk playing on. If we had implemented the biosecurity measures we have in place now … there was really zero risk to the players or the community.

"There were the challenges in relation to the closure of the borders, but I think we could have got around all that. If there is one regret, maybe we acted too quickly. Maybe we should have waited another week to see the infection rates."

V'landys added: "We're not a very big risk. I think the governments would let us see it through now if there was a second wave, especially with the very harsh biosecurity measures we have implemented.

"We've proven it in racing and not only in NSW but right around Australia. If you have proper biosecurity measures, and participants do the right thing and abide by them, the risk is minimal."

State of Origin will be played in November as the NRL released its full revised draw on Thursday.

The NRL is set to resume its season next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the marquee series between Queensland and New South Wales moved.

Origin will be played on November 4, 11 and 18, with venues yet to be finalised, it was announced on Thursday.

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country's biggest sporting rivalry," NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

The NRL Grand Final is set to be held on October 25, with the season already reduced to a 20-round schedule.

The season restarts on May 28, when Brisbane Broncos will host Parramatta Eels.

 

Best round three Opta facts:

- Broncos v Eels: Parramatta have won four of their past six games against Brisbane.
- Cowboys v Titans: North Queensland are on a nine-match winning streak against Gold Coast.
- Roosters v Rabbitohs: South Sydney's Campbell Graham has crossed for a try in each of his past three NRL games.
- Warriors v Dragons: New Zealand have lost five of their past six NRL games played in Australia, with the defeats coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Sharks v Tigers: Wests have lost their past six games against Cronulla.
- Storm v Raiders: These two teams are the only sides yet to concede a try in the first half of a game this season.
- Panthers v Knights: Penrith have won nine of their 12 games without Nathan Cleary, who is suspended, since his debut.
- Sea Eagles v Bulldogs: Canterbury have made 30 errors across their opening two NRL games of the season.

State of Origin will be played in November as the NRL released its full revised draw on Thursday.

The NRL is set to resume its season next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the marquee series between Queensland and New South Wales moved.

Origin will be played on November 4, 11 and 18, with venues yet to be finalised, it was announced on Thursday.

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country's biggest sporting rivalry," NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

The NRL Grand Final is set to be held on October 25, with the season already reduced to a 20-round schedule.

The season restarts on May 28, when Brisbane Broncos will host Parramatta Eels.

 

Best round three Opta facts:

- Broncos v Eels: Parramatta have won four of their past six games against Brisbane.
- Cowboys v Titans: North Queensland are on a nine-match winning streak against Gold Coast.
- Roosters v Rabbitohs: South Sydney's Campbell Graham has crossed for a try in each of his past three NRL games.
- Warriors v Dragons: New Zealand have lost five of their past six NRL games played in Australia, with the defeats coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Sharks v Tigers: Wests have lost their past six games against Cronulla.
- Storm v Raiders: These two teams are the only sides yet to concede a try in the first half of a game this season.
- Panthers v Knights: Penrith have won nine of their 12 games without Nathan Cleary, who is suspended, since his debut.
- Sea Eagles v Bulldogs: Canterbury have made 30 errors across their opening two NRL games of the season.

The NRL has announced the six venues that will stage fixtures when the 2020 season resumes at the end of May.

Bankwest Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium and Central Coast Stadium will host fixtures, as well as Suncorp Stadium, Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville and AAMI Park.

The locations have been chosen to host games until at least the end of round nine as the competition prepares to return to action, starting with Brisbane Broncos against Parramatta Eels on May 28.

Action was suspended after two rounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The competition will begin with a consolidated approach to venues," acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

"Each venue requires customised infrastructure to meet our strict biosecurity requirements. We've adopted a phased approach for venues should restrictions be eased in the future.

"We've chosen three consolidated venues for clubs in and around Sydney to ensure there are no double headers at venues and in different parts of the region to meet the geographical challenges we face."

The Eels will be sharing Bankwest Stadium with Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters.

Campbelltown is the location for St George Illawarra Dragons, Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders, while Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles will play out of Central Coast Stadium, along with the Gosford-based New Zealand Warriors.

Suncorp Stadium will house the Broncos as per usual, as well as Gold Coast Titans. As for North Queensland Cowboys and Melbourne Storm, they will be in the familiar surroundings of Queensland Country Bank Stadium and AAMI Park respectively.

The draw for the remainder of the season will be revealed on Thursday, though home venues will only be allocated until round nine.

The NRL released the fixtures for rounds three and four ahead of the 2020 season restart amid the coronavirus pandemic.

May 28 is set to see the return of the competition, which was postponed through two rounds on March 23 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels will kick-off the league's return on May 28, behind closed doors.

Venues for the third and fourth rounds are still be confirmed, while acting NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the full season schedule will be released next week.

"After a period of uncertainty and unprecedented co-operation by a wide range of stakeholders, we are proud and excited to announce rounds three and four of the Telstra NRL Premiership," Abdo.

"These rounds provide our fans and partners with on-field rivalry and blockbuster entertainment. Combined with the proposed rule changes, the 2020 season will be faster and more unpredictable than ever before."

The Eels, Broncos, Newcastle Knights, Canberra Raiders, Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers were the only teams to have won their opening two games before the NRL's postponement.

 

Round Three:

Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels (May 28)
North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans (May 29)
Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs (May 29)
New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons (May 30)
Cronulla Sharks v Wests Tigers (May 30)
Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders  (May 30)
Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights (May 31)
Manly Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (May 31)

Round Four:

Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters (June 4)
Penrith Panthers v New Zealand Warriors (June 5)
Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs (June 5)
Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles (June 6)
North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks (June 6)
Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights (June 7)
Gold Coast Titans v Wests Tigers (June 7)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v St George Illawarra Dragons (June 8)

Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels earned resounding wins as they both made it two victories from two in the NRL on Sunday.

Mitchell Pearce, playing in front of the Leichardt Oval hill renamed in honour of his father Wayne, was influential as the Knights ran out 42-24 winners on the road at West Tigers.

With matches played behind closed doors, eager Tigers fans sat on roofs and scaffolding but saw their side fall to defeat in a 12-try game.

Pearce's fine solo effort in the 63rd minute gave the Knights breathing space and he then played in Enari Tuala for his second try of the match.

Mitchell Barnett, Kurt Mann, Edrick Lee, Kalyn Ponga and Connor Watson also touched down for the Knights, while David Nofoaluma, Corey Thompson, Josh Reynolds and Luciano Leilua went over for the hosts.

The Eels were even more emphatic in their triumph at Gold Coast Titans as seven different players scored in a 46-6 hammering.

The luckless Titans were not helped by injuries to Dale Copley (ribs) and Tyrone Roberts (ankle), with Brian Kelly also needing a head injury assessment, but a series of errors proved their undoing.

Mitchell Moses was in fine form for the Eels - who top the infant NRL table ahead of the Knights - and scored the visitors' opening try before Reed Mahoney dotted down and Copley replied for the Titans in a breathless opening 15 minutes.

The floodgates opened after the break, though, Dylan Brown crossing twice and Kane Evans, Maika Sivo and Peni Terepo all scoring for the Eels, while Moses ended with a personal points haul of 22.

The Parramatta Eels dug deep for an 8-2 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs as the NRL season got under way.

Launching their latest pursuit of a first league title since 1986, a bruising battle at Bankwest Stadium went Parramatta's way thanks to Reed Mahoney's scrappy second-half try.

A grubber kick from Mitchell Moses looked to carry little threat until Lachlan Lewis botched his effort to grab the ball, which ran loose for Mahoney to sprint towards and ground.

That telling moment came after 65 minutes and broke a 2-2 tie, with Moses adding the extras having slotted a first-half penalty.

Parramatta were denied an early first-half try when Blake Ferguson dotted down in the right corner and celebrated with a somersault, only for replays to show he put his foot on the sideline before grounding the ball.

Eels head coach Brad Arthur told a post-match news conference: "They did what they did to us last year - dragged us in for a real dogfight - and for the first half we lacked a bit of patience and got frustrated.

"But in the second half I thought we settled a bit and completed a bit better and tried to build some pressure. We just didn't really get any great opportunities in good field positions

"The pleasing thing is I'm sitting here and we managed to get better at in the second half and turn it around.

"I thought we'd be better with the ball, but I was really happy with the defence. We kept turning up."

Promising playmaker Dylan Brown has agreed a three-year contract extension that will keep him with Parramatta Eels until 2023.

Brown impressed during his debut NRL season and will reportedly play under improved terms next year before earning AUS$2million across the following three campaigns.

The 19-year-old, who represented New Zealand in the World Cup Nines in October, made 15 appearances for the Eels in 2019, contributing four tries and five assists.

Parramatta are understood to have moved to tie him down in a bid to ward off interest from a number of NRL rivals.

"The signing of Dylan Brown aligns with our development club philosophy and we're extremely proud of the person and player he has become. We're excited about the future ahead for our members and fans," said Eels general manager Mark O'Neill.

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