NRL’s travel exemptions to remain despite Queensland’s Sydney hotspot declaration

The NRL’s exemptions for its teams travelling to Queensland will stand, despite the Palaszczuk Government declaring Greater Sydney a coronavirus hotspot.

The Queensland Premier announced today that the state would close its borders to all residents of Greater Sydney from 1:00am on Saturday.

But the NRL has been given an assurance from the Queensland Government that the original exemptions still exist.

It means the teams currently based outside of the state, including the nine Sydney clubs, will continue to be chartered to Queensland to play without staying overnight.

Queensland teams will also be able to make the same trip in reverse, with players on both sides of the border still in their bubbles.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys, speaking prior to confirming the travel exemptions remained in place, said the NRL clubs were committed to observing the league’s biosecurity protocols.

“We’ve got those rigorous protocols in place where our players are self-isolating,” he told the ABC.

“We go in and out (of Queensland) on the same day and the risk is minimal.”

Meanwhile, Sydney’s two AFL teams, GWS Giants and Sydney Swans, have accelerated their plans to leave New South Wales in light of the Queensland Government’s announcement.

GWS, who face Gold Coast on Sunday, will now fly out on Thursday afternoon.

An AFL player grasps the ball in one hand as he runs forward, while an opponent tries to tackle him.

An AFL player grasps the ball in one hand as he runs forward, while an opponent tries to tackle him.

The Giants and Swans were set to leave Sydney this weekend for three weeks, but may now be forced out for longer.(AAP: Paul Miller)

The Giants and Sydney were already both playing their next two matches in Queensland before heading to a hub in Western Australia, but the border closure means they would not be able to return home after round nine.

Super Rugby AU will also be impacted, with two teams, Western Force and New South Wales, both based in Sydney.

The Waratahs are set to host the Rebels at Leichhardt Oval on Friday.

The Melbourne Rebels and the ACT-based Brumbies, who take on the Queensland Reds on Saturday, are based in Canberra.

Super Netball rejigs fixture

The NSW Swifts and Giants Netball will rush to Queensland this week with the opening round of Super Netball reshuffled due to the tightened border restrictions.

The Giants were set to host West Coast Fever on Saturday at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, while the Swifts and Adelaide Thunderbirds were slated to play at the same venue on Sunday.

NSW Swifts players smile for a victory photo with a gold trophy

NSW Swifts players smile for a victory photo with a gold trophy

The Swifts will now start their premiership defence in Brisbane.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The two Sydney outfits will now fly north on Thursday to begin their campaigns in Brisbane.

The Swifts, who are the defending Super Netball premiers, and Giants will square off on Sunday, while the Thunderbirds and Fever will bypass Sydney and meet in a round-one match on Saturday in a double-header.

The Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Lightning will still open the competition in the earlier match in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies, who are already in Brisbane, will play on Sunday evening during their final hours of quarantine.

Round-two matches which had been scheduled for Sydney will also be relocated.

ABC/AAP