‘One in 10,000 chance’: NRL backs biosecurity measures
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys says there is only a "one in 10,000 chance" of players catching coronavirus if they conform to the NRL's strict biosecurity measures after they reassemble this week.
The NRL will take the next step toward a May 28 restart of the suspended competition when the 16 clubs hold education days on Monday, with the biosecurity guidelines to be explained to all players.
Providing players are satisfied, they are expected to resume training as early as Tuesday.
V'landys said he was confident that players would adhere to the guidelines despite the poor example set by social isolation breaches of high-profile players last week, saying the consequences would be "immense".
"We need to trust our players, and have that confidence in them. I think they realise the importance, not only are they affecting themselves but they are also affecting the 485 colleagues and the game itself," he told Nine Network's Sports Sunday.
"If they do something wrong they jeopardise the whole game, so the consequences are immense."
Citing statistics supplied by the biosecurity expert hired by the NRL, V'landys played down the health risk of the NRL's return to players and the community.
"But you do have to also put it into perspective. We have undertaken one of the greatest risk analyses there is," he said.
"If they do transgress it is a one in a thousand chance in the community that they will get the virus.
"If they stay with our biosecurity measures it is one in 10,000 chance they will get the virus.
"I am not in any way discounting the importance of the coronavirus, but there is one in 10,000 chance you could die of a car accident.
"For a player there is one in 10 million chance that he will die of the coronavirus."
V'landys said downloading the government's new COVIDSafe app would help flatten the curve but baulked when asked if it would be made compulsory for NRL players.
"Of all the tests that have been done only one per cent are positive, the virus has been well contained by the government...and if everyone downloads the app the virus will be extinguished sooner rather than later," he said.
"We are going to discuss that (downloading the app) with the players (on Monday) - everything is done in consultation and agreement.
"They have their education day on Monday. They will go through all that.
"(But) it is important they download the app because that is our best protection...(and) the players association have agreed the app is essential."
The NRL gained further momentum when Queensland teams were given the green light by their state government to train and play at home while the Warriors were cleared by Australian Border Force to enter the country from home city Auckland.
The Warriors were due to fly directly into Tamworth on Sunday afternoon and will remain based in NSW.
The NRL's other interstate club Melbourne are preparing to return to training across the border in Albury, with practice sessions still not allowed in Victoria until at least May 11.
Originally published as 'One in 10,000 chance': NRL says biosecurity measures can ensure player safety