Radical Plan To Quarantine NRL Players Together To Save The Season
Wayne Bennett has called on the NRL to be brave enough to implement a series of 'magic rounds' in warmer climates in a bid to save the league from a financial disaster.
The NRL were on Saturday night still grappling with how to deal with the coronavirus, with discussions between all club bosses scheduled for Sunday morning.
The South Sydney coach questioned if the current plan of games in front of empty stadiums was sustainable, warning it was inevitable a player would contract the virus.
Numbers of infected individuals have been on the rise, particularly in NSW where nine clubs are based.
Bennett believed the best Plan B solution was to play the competition as per the current draw, but in a Perth, Darwin or Townsville climate with all games in one location.
"The ideal for those contingencies is to quarantine us all," Bennett said.
"Send us away as 16 teams and do the best we can to make sure no-one tests positive. Test us before we leave, go somewhere north where the climate is hotter. Because the odds are someone is going to get it (in their current set up)," he said.
"We have to maybe be brave enough to do something other codes haven't done, but not at the risk of people's health."
"I think there is an opportunity to do that if we have to go to Plan B."
Townsville on Saturday had its first confirmed report of the virus, while the Northern Territory has not yet had a case.
Bennett also warned the NRL faced a dire situation if the competition was suspended.
The Warriors in particular have put a spanner in the works, with the New Zealand government implementing a 14-day isolation policy on any person arriving from Australia from 10pm Sunday.
"Our challenge is the income loss to the game if we don't play football," Bennett said
"You all know TVs all have clauses in the contract if you don't have eight games a week the contract is null and void.
"The salary cap is a combined $160 million. They (the players) have got five months pay so far, so there is probably around $90 million to be paid to players.
"If TV contracts fall over who is going to be paying that $90 million for the rest of the year? It's huge.
"And that's just the players. Every club would have 30 or 40 admin and coaching staff on their books.
"Sponsors are going to pull their sponsorship because they are getting no value for money and they're going through hard times."