Costs spiral as NRL eyes extended relocation

As the Queensland government moves to close their border to NSW from Friday, V’landys revealed the NRL is bracing for the prospect of the code’s 16 teams remaining in the Sunshine State for longer than four weeks.The increasing Covid crisis in Sydney — there were 124 new cases in NSW on Thursday — has raised the genuine scenario of Suncorp Stadium hosting a historic NRL grand final in Queensland this year.Watch The 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership Live & On-Demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >The NRL originally planned to play the next month of games on Queensland soil, but V’landys concedes the Telstra Premiership is set to remain north of the Tweed for an extended block — and possibly the rest of the 2021 season.“To be honest, looking at the current situation, we will be in Queensland for more than four weeks,” V’landys said.“It depends on the lockdown in Sydney, but the Covid figures aren’t looking good.“We aren’t just looking at how many infections there are, but how many Covid cases exist in the community that are being passed on.“The figures have increased so that’s not a good sign.“We’ll make decisions on the competition on a week-by-week basis. We’re constantly looking at the data and so far we’ve made the right decisions, so if we have to keep the NRL running in Queensland, we’ll do that.”It is estimated the NRL’s initial four-week relocation plan for the 16 clubs to stay at three sites at Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast has cost the code up to $15 million.Based on that figure, spending another two months in Queensland, including the finals series and the grand final, slated for Sunday, October 3, would represent a $30 million travel-and-accommodation bill.But keeping the Telstra Premiership operational in Queensland would still be a profitable exercise for the NRL, who stand to pocket $91 million in broadcasting revenue over the next seven rounds.“This relocation will cost us between $10 million to $15 million, but having crowds at games in Queensland will offset that cost,” V’landys said.“If we don’t play at all, we lose $13 million per round so it’s worth having the game in Queensland.“We’ve reduced costs by $50 million this year at League Central so financially the game is well positioned to handle this (Covid) situation.”Maroons’ Origin and Penrith forward Kurt Capewell, who is in lockdown with the Panthers on the Sunshine Coast, said he would have no issue finishing the NRL season in Queensland.“There were a few teething issues when we started lockdown but it’s starting to settle down,” he said.“I was in camp for 11 days and played Origin, so it’s been a long time away from home and now I’ve gone from the Gold Coast to the Sunny Coast.“It’s been thrown upon us pretty quick but the players will do whatever it takes to keep the comp going.“I don’t struggle with it too much. We are allowed to train together and that’s the main thing. If we leave our room we have to wear a mask everywhere and on days off there’s not much you can do around the resort.“In the morning we go for a walk and you will have a quick feed and coffee before the hotel staff clean up the eating areas.“It’s like a campus type set-up and we are all fenced into the resort.“The eating times are pretty strict and things are pretty serious, but I fully support whatever the NRL does to keep the game alive.”The Matty Johns (and Fletch) PodcastBroncos coach Kevin Walters said the relocation of the NRL premiership has helped Queensland-based players at Brisbane, the Titans and Cowboys.“I feel we are advantaged already being based here in Brisbane,” Walters said.“We go back to our families and loved ones, whereas most of the other NRL clubs are in a hub.“It’s a very different lifestyle for them, but for us (at the Broncos), we are still with our loved ones and we drive to training and go home which is hugely important for us.”

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