NRL confirm changes to squads to avoid cancellations amid Covid chaos

The NRL will allow clubs to access players from outside their top 30 squads from Round 1 as the competition moves to ensure there are no game cancellations due to Covid in 2022.

The NRL are desperate to avoid cancellations or rescheduling of games should players inevitably contract Covid throughout the 2022 season, so that they can fulfil their obligations to broadcasters.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was the first to implore the NRL to allow clubs access to players outside their top 30 in the event players are sidelined due to Covid and the game’s governing body has come to the party.

“We are working with the clubs on the rapid testing but also the movement of players from the State Cup competitions or outside of the NRL squad into the NRL squad to ensure there is sufficient depth if there were to be some positives during the season,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“We have communicated to the clubs that there is an opportunity for them to access players outside the top 30 before round 11, on the basis of the impact of a COVID positive case.

“Provided that the salary cap auditor has been provided evidence that there has been a positive COVID case for a player, then clubs are able to access players from outside their top 30 list in a controlled manner.”

According to an official statement the NRL will allow up to six development players from Round 1, as well as granting permission for talent from the New South Wales and Queensland Cup to be called up if required.

“Our salary cap auditor has been in contact with the clubs on how that will work, and the clubs are very well aware of that, so that is going to allow us hopefully sufficient protections should there be an outbreak,” Abdo said.

“We are increasing the squad size in terms of travel day, particularly for clubs that travel interstate, and we have provided flexibility for clubs to be able to draft in players from outside their top 30 squad. All of this is geared up to ensure that there is sufficient depth and competitiveness of the team to get on the field.

“The rapid testing and rapid testing every day means it is very unlikely that we will see a mass breakout at a club.

“However, in the unlikely event that we have that we have contingencies in place to access broader players so at this stage we don’t believe that we will be a place where we have to postpone or cancel games.”


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