League boss confirms CQ ’a possibility’ to be NRL base
RUGBY LEAGUE: The odds of the NRL coming to Calliope appear to be shortening.
NRL.com is reporting that ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has confirmed that teams could be relocated to Central Queensland in a bid to allow the 2020 season to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
News broke last week that the NRL was looking to use Homestead Villages, a 1392-room purpose-built village at Calliope, as a home base for the 500-plus players and coaching staff.
The centre’s proximity to regional airports and a proven venue in Gladstone’s Marley Brown Oval, which hosted an NRL fixture in 2018, were also factors.
The AFL on Sunday suspended its season for eight weeks but V’landys said the NRL intended to play on, with the game doing everything it could to reduce the risk of players contracting the coronavirus.
“We’ve said from the outset that we’ll listen to the government advice and in particular the health authorities’ advice,” V’landys told Channel 7.
“We’ve also commissioned biosecurity and pandemic experts. We’ll continue to listen to that advice and at this stage they are telling us we can continue to play and while that is the case we’ll continue to play.”
V’landys said the Calliope option was “a possibility”.
“We are costing that at the moment and looking at all the logistics,” he said.
“There’s 1300 rooms up there, you can separate all the players.
“Again it’s minimising risk, it’s all about minimising the risk to our players.
“We want our players healthy, and that’s the paramount consideration of whatever we do. That’s why we’re listening to the government and health advice of our experts.”
As speculation around the possible CQ relocation grows, Browne Park Trust chairman Paul Hoolihan and QRL Central Division manager Rob Crow are pushing for the NRL to consider Rockhampton’s Browne Park as a venue for games.
Round 2 of the NRL was played at closed stadiums with no spectators.