'Are You Serious?' The NRL Is Disinfecting Its Balls
The NRL, a sport renowned for player contact, is taking extreme measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Despite sweaty players tackling each other and packing scrums, the ball they will be passing around is being disinfected.
During the first round match between the Manly Sea Eagles and Melbourne Storm on Sunday, Channel 9 showed the playing balls being washed in a bucket of disinfectant.
"Now that, you are seeing, is a disinfectant bin which the balls are being washed in every time they are going play," said commentator Mathew Thompson.
Co-commentators Andrew Johns and Peter Sterling laughed at the disinfecting of the balls, both asking "are you serious?".
"I thought it was the Manly club trying to make it harder for Melbourne to handle the football," Sterlo joked.
The ball boys were also wearing gloves as a precaution.
The NRL will forge ahead with the season despite the coronavirus pandemic but will ask the Australian government for financial assistance to keep the game alive if forced to suspend the competition.
In an extraordinary press conference on Sunday morning, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys and NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg outlined the 'catastrophic' impact suspending the season would have on rugby league.
The development came as sideline official Tim Roby became the latest person in the game to be tested for coronavirus after presenting with flu-like symptoms on Sunday, with results expected on Monday.
It's understood he has not been around the referees group since Friday.
Angus Crichton and Bronson Xerri are the only two NRL players to have been tested for coronavirus -- and both were negative.
Meanwhile, Warriors boss Cameron George admits his team will decide again next week if they want to stay in the NRL season with families now effectively locked out of Australia.
The Warriors have gone into camp in Kingscliff with a view to host Canberra on the Gold Coast next Sunday, after the New Zealand government implemented a 14-day isolation policy for overseas travellers.