NRL Announces Fixtures For Rounds Three And Four
With just two weeks before the restart of the rugby league season, the NRL has announced the fixtures for Rounds Three and Four.
While the dates and match-ups have been decided, the venues have not been locked in.
The NRL has confirmed that the matches will take place across NSW and Queensland.
Games listed with the Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans or North Queensland Cowboys as the 'home' team will be played in Queensland.
The New Zealand Warriors, who have relocated to Australia for the foreseeable future to avoid COVID-19 quarantine rules, will play all their home games in NSW.
The NRL has also made sure tradition was upheld in the fixtures list, with the annual Queen's Birthday clash between the Dragons and Bulldogs still slated for June 8.
It comes the same day as the AFL announced it would resume its competition on June 11.
Some have been critical of the NRL's communication on the future of the season. Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold said the lack of a long-term draw was problematic because he liked to give players clarity on when they would be training.
"I'm patient to the fact it's a bizarre time, but I do like clarity and the sooner we get the draw the better," he said.
The NRL has battled several major issues as it planned to restart play. The league briefly flirted with the idea of a 'bubble', asking players and staff to isolate together in one remote location where games and training would occur -- giving rise to the popular 'NRL Island' concept.
The league later abandoned that plan, after getting clearance for teams to travel between states to play. But a number of off-field social distancing indiscretions saw star players Nathan Cleary, Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr hit with heavy fines and the possibility of match suspensions.
The NRL is currently locked in two further disputes -- including a controversial stoush with players who refuse to accept flu vaccinations as a prerequisite to train and play.
The league is also fighting on another front in a dispute with referees, after announcing plans to drop the number of on-field officials from two to one.
Professional Rugby League Match Officials on Thursday claimed the league had no right to change the officiating model under the current enterprise agreement.
They have engaged the services of Harmers Workplace Lawyers with the goal of finding a resolution before the competition resumes on May 28, but won't rule out strike action.
"It's totally ludicrous and I don't think his confrontational and misleading approach is helping his association," Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V'landys said.
"We've done nothing wrong. All the 21 referees that are full-time will be kept."
More to come.
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