There’s been a striking absence of complaints from NRL clubs amid the competition’s ongoing struggle to continue, NSW coach Brad Fittler says.
Squabbling has long been a staple of rugby league clubland but Fittler has lauded the NRL’s 16 teams for getting on with the job in Queensland.
After relocating north, the clubs have had to manage strict biosecurity measures, family issues and rescheduled matches due to Queensland’s heightened lockdown. They have done so stoically and Fittler reckons that’s because they finally have faith in NRL management, headed by Peter V’landys and Andrew Abdo.
“The clubs are doing a brilliant job at the moment. And they’re doing a brilliant job and not complaining,” Fittler said on Wide World of Sports’ Final Whistle.
“Five years ago, I could imagine the complaining going on. But when you’ve got faith in the people running our game, you just get along and do what you’ve got to do.
“I think the clubs are doing very well.”
The NRL will resume on Monday night, due to the weekend’s reshuffle. Saturday games moved to Sunday and Sunday games to Monday, meaning that Bulldogs vs Titans and Sharks vs Sea Eagles are still to be played.
Melbourne Storm put down a statement win on Sunday, beating fellow heavyweight Penrith 37-10; though the Panthers were still without top halfback Nathan Cleary.
Off the field, the NRL has walked a fine line on potentially being kicked out of Queensland. High-profile players James Roberts and Apisai Koroisau were outed for biosecurity breaches.
Abdo said that he hoped there would be no further problems.
“We’ve obviously been communicating these changes through to the clubs and the players,” Abdo told TODAY on Monday.
“I think everyone understands what’s at stake and everyone is going to do the right thing. Yes, we have seen breaches but they are isolated cases among a huge group of people doing the right thing.”
Abdo is hoping for crowd restrictions to ease for games this week. He has previously said that the grand final may be played in Brisbane rather than Sydney and Melbourne is now being looked at; the MCG, if Suncorp Stadium can’t host a big crowd for the season decider.
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