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NRL's travel exemptions remain despite Queensland border closure

The NRL's travel exemptions into Queensland will stand despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declaring Greater Sydney a COVID-19 hotspot and closing state borders to Sydney residents from Saturday.

The NRL has been given assurance that the Palaszczuk government's allowances for players and Sydney-based teams will stand after the ARL Commission secured travel exemptions when borders were closed earlier this year.

From 1am on Saturday, Sydney residents will not be permitted to enter Queensland following an outbreak north of the border.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys was happy that teams will still be able to travel back and forth between Sydney and Queensland given players are again observing strict COVID-19 protocols that were first installed to secure the original exemptions.

"We have the same rigorous biosecurity protocols we had when first granted the exemption and the Queensland border was totally closed," V'landys told before there was confirmation that the exemption would be retained.

"So logically nothing has changed.”

NRL contingency plans have been created should the COVID-19 situation in NSW deteriorate, though relocating teams remains a last resort.

Shifting the four Queensland-based sides south of the border remains the governing body's preference rather than moving Sydney or NSW-based clubs in the opposite direction due to financial and logistic implications.

Cronulla are due to make a hit-and-run trip to Suncorp Stadium on Friday night before the border lockdown is enforced.

Sharks players and staff are booked to depart Brisbane on an NRL charter flight before the 1am deadline so they would have still been unaffected if the exemptions had been revoked.

Indigenous stars raise their voice

The Raiders are due to travel to Townsville on Saturday to face North Queensland, with submissions made by the club for Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine to be granted travel exemptions having not had flu shots.

Previous exemptions have been granted to the likes of Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake and the Gold Coast's Bryce Cartwright, but Canberra are yet to receive official word from the Queensland government on their players and it is yet to be determined if Palaszczuk's latest border rules effect those submissions.

Newcastle are scheduled to play Melbourne on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday, and like the Raiders do not fall within the Greater Sydney ban.

The Rabbitohs are due to play in Brisbane next Friday and the Bulldogs take on the Storm, again at Sunshine Coast Stadium, the following day.

Sydney's two AFL sides, the Swans and GWS Giants, are set to enter the code's Queensland hubs before the weekend to beat the lockdown.

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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