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.

NRL players have accepted a pay cut and will all be back in training on Wednesday after the league vowed it would be "full steam ahead" to a May 28 resumption.

Just two rounds of the 2020 season were completed before the coronavirus pandemic forced the NRL to halt in March.

Now the competition is set to return behind closed doors, with Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys forecasting "all eyes" would be on the NRL.

Players have agreed a pay package that will see them guaranteed 80 per cent of contracted payments, the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) said.

The New Zealand Warriors trained on Tuesday and all other sides will now follow, initially in small groups before working as normal from next week.

V'landys said in an NRL statement that the league would closely protect its players, vowing: "Our players will be safer in the rugby league environment than they would be in the regular community."

With games to be broadcast from the moment the league returns, V'landys believes rugby league will have an opportunity to sell itself.

He said: "It is full steam ahead for the resumption of the competition on May 28.

"All eyes will be on the NRL as the only live sport on television. There will never have been more interest in rugby league than on May 28.

"Rugby league is part of the social fabric of so many communities. In these difficult times it will provide a tonic for so many seeking a form of normality during a period where nothing is normal."

He thanked players for "making significant sacrifices", notably the New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm players who have relocated to New South Wales to allow the league to start up again.

V'landys said: "The New Zealand Warriors and the Melbourne Storm have had to leave their homes and their families and on behalf of all rugby league fans we thank them for that and we thank all players who will be living with stronger restrictions than current government health orders."

RLPA chief executive Clint Newton said players were "excited" by the prospect of returning to action.

He added: "Like many in our community, players will have changed domestic arrangements and an added weight of responsibility with time away from family and reduced payments – but one thing that won't be impacted is their effort on the field and their commitment to the game and its fans."

NRL players have accepted a pay cut and will all be back in training on Wednesday after the league vowed it would be "full steam ahead" to a May 28 resumption.

Just two rounds of the 2020 season were completed before the coronavirus pandemic forced the NRL to halt in March.

Now the competition is set to return behind closed doors, with Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys forecasting "all eyes" would be on the NRL.

Players have agreed a pay package that will see them guaranteed 80 per cent of contracted payments, the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) said.

The New Zealand Warriors trained on Tuesday and all other sides will now follow, initially in small groups before working as normal from next week.

V'landys said in an NRL statement that the league would closely protect its players, vowing: "Our players will be safer in the rugby league environment than they would be in the regular community."

With games to be broadcast from the moment the league returns, V'landys believes rugby league will have an opportunity to sell itself.

He said: "It is full steam ahead for the resumption of the competition on May 28.

"All eyes will be on the NRL as the only live sport on television. There will never have been more interest in rugby league than on May 28.

"Rugby league is part of the social fabric of so many communities. In these difficult times it will provide a tonic for so many seeking a form of normality during a period where nothing is normal."

He thanked players for "making significant sacrifices", notably the New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm players who have relocated to New South Wales to allow the league to start up again.

V'landys said: "The New Zealand Warriors and the Melbourne Storm have had to leave their homes and their families and on behalf of all rugby league fans we thank them for that and we thank all players who will be living with stronger restrictions than current government health orders."

RLPA chief executive Clint Newton said players were "excited" by the prospect of returning to action.

He added: "Like many in our community, players will have changed domestic arrangements and an added weight of responsibility with time away from family and reduced payments – but one thing that won't be impacted is their effort on the field and their commitment to the game and its fans."

New Zealand Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is relishing the NRL's restart after a "tough" return to training on Tuesday.

The Auckland-based Warriors arrived in the regional New South Wales town of Tamworth on Sunday ahead of the NRL's planned return on May 28 following the coronavirus pandemic.

NRL teams are scheduled to resume training activities on Wednesday, but the Warriors trained in small groups on Tuesday.

Providing an insight into the Warriors' quarantine training, Tuivasa-Sheck said: "It's a different type of training to training on your own back home, inside your house or your little backyard.

"Scully Park is a beautiful park and when you try to measure 60 metres to run back home compared to the real 60 metres, there's a lot of difference!

"It was a tough day today, but I'm glad to be back into it."

Tuivasa-Sheck, whose team lost their opening two games before the competition was suspended on March 23, added: "Day one training ran pretty smoothly.

"I'm pretty sure the coaches and trainers all sat in a meeting yesterday trying to figure it all out, because we got new biosecurity rules come through and new protocols.

"We trained in groups today. One group was up early, had breakfast, they did their mobility, got ready and then they were on the field.

"Then the next group would have breakfast and then so on. So it's almost like a chain, we're in the breakfast hall, then it's into the gym and that group stays together and we move along like that, in a little circuit."

 

Nathaniel Roache has tested negative for the coronavirus but he and New Zealand Warriors team-mate David Fusitu'a may have to self-isolate when they arrive in Australia.

Roache did not fly to Tamworth with the rest of the Warriors squad on Sunday, as he was feeling unwell.

The hooker was tested for COVID-19 but has not contracted the virus and is set to join up with the squad as soon as possible.

Centre Fusitu'a remained in New Zealand on compassionate grounds when his colleagues boarded the plane on a private flight to New South Wales at the weekend.

Fusitu'a is due to link up with his colleagues in the near future, but he and Roache may be quarantined separately from their team-mates for a fortnight ahead of a planned NRL restart on May 28.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said: "As soon as we can get the opportunity, or what that looks like, we'll be trying to get him over as soon as possible.

"The process when David [arrives], we'll work through that over the next week, in terms of what that might look like.

"He might have to go into self-isolation in a hotel room and that's obviously worst-case scenario which we've made him well aware of."

New Zealand Warriors chief executive Cameron George has not ruled out the possibility of playing NRL matches in Auckland this year.

The Auckland-based Warriors arrived in the New South Wales town of Tamworth in Australia on Sunday, as the NRL plans to restart the coronavirus-hit season on May 28.

The NRL was suspended through just two rounds on March 23 but squads returned to work on Monday, ahead of active training resuming on Wednesday.

While the Warriors are set to base themselves in Australia for the 2020 campaign to be completed, CEO George talked up the possibility of staging games back home in New Zealand.

"If you asked me two weeks ago, I would have said no but it's shifted so dramatically in the space of two weeks, who knows what it's going to look like in a month's time," George told Sky Sports Radio on Monday.

"If Australia-New Zealand restrictions get relaxed to a point that enables us to come home, there's a big possibility of that happening.

"But we've focused on being there for the duration. That's our mindset."

George's comments came after New Zealand's foreign minister Winston Peter highlighted a "trans-Tasman" bubble amid border restrictions due to COVID-19.

While there have been more than 248,300 deaths globally, Australia and New Zealand have managed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Australia has recorded 96 deaths, while neighbours New Zealand have seen just 20 casualties as both countries consider relaxing measures.

"The Warriors' participation in the NRL in Australia shows that a trans-Tasman bubble could work seriously well," Peters said in a statement.

"Australia and New Zealand are two of the most integrated economies in the world.

"The idea of a bubble with Australia was floated two weeks ago, and this is an example of the sort of action that could happen within it, while always ensuring the protection of public health."

Meanwhile, all 16 NRL teams assembled at club bases on Monday to participate in an educational workshop to understand strict biosecurity protocols ahead of the season returning.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys said: "It's a great day for rugby league to see our squads assembling for the first time since the competition was suspended and I'm grateful to clubs and players for the commitment they've shown to ensure the competition resumes on May 28.

"Every player participated in an education day which explained our strict biosecurity protocols to ensure players understand what they can and cannot do.

"Our protocols are substantially stricter than the current government measures and we wanted to ensure the first day was devoted to educating our players - they know the future of the game rests with them complying with our protocols."

New Zealand Warriors hooker Nathaniel Roache missed his team's flight to Australia due to illness, the NRL club confirmed on Sunday.

The Warriors boarded a private flight to the New South Wales town of Tamworth as the NRL plans to restart the coronavirus-hit 2020 season on May 28.

However, an "unwell" Roache was not on the flight from Auckland after contacting medical staff on Sunday morning.

Warriors centre David Fusitu'a also remained in New Zealand on compassionate grounds.

"Nate called the club first thing this morning saying he wasn't feeling well," Warriors chief executive Cameron George said in a statement.

"He was instructed to have a test immediately and was told not to report at the airport as he would not be travelling with the team.

"We're totally satisfied Nate has had no contact with any other player or staff member at the club for several weeks and we're very comfortable we have abided by all policies and requirements."

The Warriors departed New Zealand after finally being granted an exemption to travel to Australia on Saturday amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NRL season was postponed through just two rounds on March 23 and the league has been trying desperately to restart the competition.

The New Zealand Warriors have finally been granted an exemption to travel to Australia ahead of the NRL season resuming.

The NRL is planning to restart its campaign on May 28 amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the Warriors' arrival had remained a hurdle.

But that was officially cleared on Saturday, when they were granted an exemption to enter Australia.

"The Minister for Home Affairs today confirmed that the Australian Border Force has considered an application to allow 36 players and staff from the New Zealand Warriors Rugby League team to travel to Australia to participate in the National Rugby League which is their place of work," read a statement tweeted by the minister, Peter Dutton.

"The ABF Commissioner carefully considered this request, including on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of the Commonwealth that the 36 foreign nationals travelling from New Zealand do not pose a risk of serious harm to public health in Australia. This morning (2 May 2020), the ABF Commissioner exempted the 36 foreign nationals from travel restrictions, enabling them to travel to Australia. Separate permissions have been provided to enable a chartered aircraft to land at Tamworth Airport on 3 May 2020.

"The National Rugby League have been advised to liaise with NSW Health and NSW Police to ensure all necessary state health and quarantine requirements are met."

Warriors chief executive Cameron George welcomed the decision, praising Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys for his work.

"As a club we're both relieved and excited that our requests have now been taken care of to our satisfaction," he said in a statement.

"We have never wavered in our commitment to be involved in supporting the resumption of the season. We're now ready to go and couldn't be happier about the prospect of being back on the field at the end of the month.

"It has been a challenging and often frustrating time for all parties over the last few weeks with so many issues on the table but it has finally come together as of today.

"We're exceptionally grateful to both the Australian and New South Wales governments for granting us an exemption and we respect the process they've had to work through.

"We're hugely appreciative of the support we've had from the NRL, especially from Peter V'landys who has been in our corner throughout."

The NRL's plans to restart on May 28 have been handed a huge boost after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gave Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans permission to travel outside the state for matches.

Earlier on Friday, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said resuming sporting activities would be a matter for state jurisdictions as rollbacks on the coronavirus lockdown are considered.

And, along with clearing Queensland's teams to resume training, Palaszczuk told NRL chairman Peter V'Landys and the chief executives of the Broncos, Cowboys and Titans that they were cleared to cross the state border because they would be working and maintaining quarantine conditions.

“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."

The status of New Zealand Warriors remains a stumbling block with regards to the May 28 date.

Morrison confirmed no authorisation had been granted for the team to travel to Australia, despite the Warriors having a charter flight booked to fly from Auckland to Tamworth on Sunday.

"That authority has not been provided and no amount of reporting it will change that decision," he told a news conference.

"That will be made on the basis of the border assessments of the Australian Border Force [ABF] and they're working through that application, they've received that application and when they're in a position to authorise it, well, they will and that's how that will follow."

After the Prime Minster addressed the issue, the ABF issued a statement to acknowledge the Warriors' case was in hand.

"The [Warriors] application is still under consideration pending endorsement of national principles from the national cabinet meeting today," it read.

"They'll be treated like any other request and I have no doubt there's no delay, they're just ABF officials doing their job as they do every single day protecting Australia's borders and making wise decisions."

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison insisted NRL side New Zealand Warriors had not yet been given permission to enter Australia.

Reports on Friday said the Warriors would fly into Australia on Sunday ahead of a possible resumption of the NRL season on May 28.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, Morrison said no authorisation had been granted yet.

"That authority has not been provided and no amount of reporting it will change that decision," he told a news conference on Friday.

"That will be made on the basis of the border assessments of the Australian Border Force and they're working through that application, they've received that application and when they're in a position to authorise it, well, they will and that's how that will follow."

Morrison confirmed the national cabinet had agreed on principles for sport and recreation to be released later on Friday.

Australia has seen more than 6,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 93 deaths.

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison said it was not yet certain the NRL would resume on May 28, with no decision made about the New Zealand Warriors.

The NRL is moving ahead with plans to restart its season next month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It had been reported the Warriors would be granted an exemption to enter Australia.

But Morrison said that decision was yet to be made and a May 28 resumption for the NRL was not yet locked in.

"That still hasn't been determined. The commonwealth has made no decision about the access by the Warriors into Australia, that hasn't happened," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"It's helpful for all of these issues that have to be resolved to hopefully achieve that timetable, that they be done between agencies and the NRL and indeed with the AFL and the other sporting codes who are working to these ends and we'll continue to work with them in good faith.

"The best way for those things to be resolved and progressed is in that normal way, but there's still a bit of work to do. As I said at the outset, I like the aspiration, it'd be great to see it back on there, but it's got to satisfy all the health requirements.

"There is the code that is being developed for elite sport, professional sport, community sport, as well as individual recreation, that's been done by the medical expert panel now."

Australia's national cabinet is meeting again on Friday to discuss the recommencement of sport.

The country has seen more than 6,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 89 deaths.

New Zealand Warriors are eager to fly to Australia for the resumption of the NRL season but they will not board the plane until a revised schedule is confirmed.

A deal has been agreed with Channel Nine and Fox Sports for the campaign to resume on May 28.

Yet the broadcast partners have not been able to reach an agreement over the structure of the season, which was suspended last month after only two rounds due to the coronavirus crisis.

Chief executive Cameron George says the Warriors are preparing themselves to head to Australia next Sunday, provided they know how the rest of the competition will be played out and are given the green light to enter the country.

"So there's still a lot of water to flow under the bridge for us in the next seven days," George told Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show.

"Most importantly what we need to find out, and I've guaranteed the players no one gets on the plane until we have information about what the competition looks like.

"Most importantly for these guys is to understand the risk versus reward. That comes back to the players' remuneration. So those discussions are going to clearly fall out of the back of any broadcast deals that are done in the days coming up."

George added that it is not only a decision on scheduling that will determine whether the Warriors will travel as planned.

"As of now we haven't had any exemption [to enter Australia] applied to us so today being Sunday we're still waiting to hear back from the NRL and the federal government of Australia whether we can leave next week or not," George said.

"And whatever the call will be we’ll certainly respect it."

New Zealand Warriors chief executive Cameron George hopes his team can begin training on May 4 in time for the resumption of the NRL's coronavirus-hit season.

The NRL is planning to resume its season on May 28 after the 2020 campaign was suspended through just two rounds last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It remains to be seen what the competition will look like when it returns amid strict travel conditions in Australia and New Zealand, where the Warriors are based.

The Warriors would be forced into a 14-day quarantine if they flew to Australia, leaving them needing to make plans if they are to then train ahead of the season restarting.

But George is hopeful the Warriors will be able to resume training with rival clubs next month, though the club are waiting for the NRL to answer some key issues before relocating to Australia.

"There's no real update, we're still working it through with the NRL on a number of different scenarios without teams," George told Fox Sports News on Saturday. "We're working out what it looks like for families and stuff like that."

"Once that comes to light, we'll be better equipped to make the right decision," he continued. "And then we get to Australia, we can train with every other club from the 4th of May. 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."

George added: "It's just working through a number of matters this week as it comes to light through the NRL and their meetings.

"We really need to understand what the restrictions were in terms of the isolation period.

"When we do that, we'll certainly be in the position to understand where we're located and for how long. It also depends on whether the interstate borders remain shut."

The NRL says it is "doing everything possible" to ensure the New Zealand Warriors are part of the relaunched 2020 season.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the league suspended since last month, but the NRL is aiming to resume its season on May 28.

However, the Warriors' involvement has been in some doubt as they would be forced into a 14-day quarantine if they flew to Australia, leaving them needing to make plans if they are to then train ahead of the season restarting.

Club chief executive Cameron George has been critical of the NRL, saying he had been left sitting around "like a cardboard cut-out" as the topic has been discussed.

But the league revealed on Wednesday a phone meeting had been held between George, Warriors chair Rob Croot, NRL chief Todd Greenberg and Australian Rugby League Commission chair Peter V'landys.

The Warriors' "needs to ensure both the welfare needs of the players are met and the club is not competitively disadvantaged when the competition restarts" were discussed, a statement said.

"The NRL and the Warriors are continuing to work with governments in Australia and New Zealand to find a pathway for the club to play in the competition," it read.

V'landys added: "We want the Warriors to be part of the 2020 season, and we are doing everything we can to not only make that happen but provide the support they need at a family level.

"It's important to understand that our aim to restart the competition on May 28 is still six weeks away. We're not proposing to start the competition next week.

"Accordingly, we have ample time to analyse the data and ensure the infection rate is at such a low level there is minimal risk to our players or the community.

"It also gives us time to make all the necessary arrangements for the Warriors."

The Warriors are 15th in the NRL ladder after two matches, having lost each of their fixtures prior to the league's suspension.

New Zealand Warriors chief executive Cameron George hit out at the NRL, saying he had been left sitting around "like a cardboard cut out".

The NRL is aiming to resume its season on May 28 amid the coronavirus pandemic, but just what the competition will look like remains to be seen.

The Warriors would be forced into a 14-day quarantine if they flew to Australia, leaving them needing to make plans if they are to then train ahead of the season restarting.

George criticised the NRL for its handling of his club, saying he needed answers.

"No one has contacted me," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"I like to have a plan and bring people along with information, but a week out from when the deadlines would have us leave, I've got nothing.

"There are players, families, staff, sponsors and members all asking questions and I am sitting here like a cardboard cut out."

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