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National Rugby League (NRL) squads today returned to work for the first time since the Telstra Premiership was suspended, completing the Apollo Player Protocol workshop, ahead of active training resuming on Wednesday.

All 16 squads assembled at club bases to participate in the education day to ensure players and selected staff understand the strict biosecurity protocols designed to keep themselves and the community healthy ahead of training resuming.

Today was the first formal step as clubs commence a pre-season ahead of the resumption of the Telstra Premiership on May 28.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chairman Peter V’landys AM said the education day was an important milestone in the recommencement of the competition.

“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,’’ Mr V’landys said.

“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.”

Tomorrow will be used as an additional education opportunity as well as team meetings and individual meetings between players and staff before active training resumes on Wednesday, in compliance with the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities guidelines.

To assist players and staff, the NRL has provided each Club with a dedicated COVID-19 liaison officer to help oversee implementation of the protocols, and the Clubs will allocate a COVID-19 coordinator to assist players and staff.

Acting Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the NRL was making strong progress to resume the season.

“Seeing our players back together is an exciting occasion for our fans and our stakeholders,’’ he said.

“Everything we are doing is focused on resuming the Telstra Premiership on May 28 in the safest environment possible. Our clubs and our players have been outstanding in working together to make a return a reality.”

Mr V’landys thanked the Federal and State Governments for the assistance they have provided the game.

“We’ve worked closely with the government over a number of weeks about the resumption of training and the competition and we thank them for that assistance. We’ve been very transparent with our biosecurity protocols to provide governments with the confidence to allow training to resume.

“It is safer to play now than when the competition was suspended in Round 2. The infection rate has dropped below one per cent and recovery rate is now over 85 per cent.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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