NRL 2020: Players risk being fined with strict lockdown rules implemented

The NRL has issued new strict lockdown rules to all 16 clubs and players, with the season currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

A six-page document sent to every club chief executive and football manager and obtained by The Sunday Telegraph contains a list of the guidelines all players need to adhere to as of Sunday, otherwise the clubs will be fined.

The rules have been implemented to minimise the risk of any NRL player  from contracting and transmitting COVID-19, which has so far affected more than 640,000 people worldwide. 

The document says every player must minimise all physical contact with virtually anyone outside their own bubble for the next three months. 

That means no handshakes, kissing, high-fives, hugs, selfies, sharing/touching phones and touching pens to sign autographs with members of the public, friends or acquaintances.

On top of that every NRL player is banned from stepping foot on their club's premises - and club officials, including coaching staff, are banned from meeting players without special permission.

"We understand the protocols mean there is going to be some significant restrictions on you, but they are absolutely necessary to protect your health and safety, and that of your family and friends," the document reads.

"Any training or rehabilitation programs, coaching sessions or other similar activities must be provided remotely.

"Your club may provide you with ballwork drills but none that requires training with a partner or a group. Remember, all training must be conducted on your own."

Coaches have already begun giving players training programs to work on during the lockdown. They are allowed to be done outside, but players must keep their distance from the public. 

"Training must be conducted on your own, or in an outdoor space which complies with government restrictions where you are.

"If training outdoors, you must maintain a four-metre space between you and other people at all times."

The NRL completed two rounds of action before play was brought to a halt.

Chief executive Todd Greenberg hopes to have players back on the paddock as early as June, and as late as September,  though government advice will dictate when it is safe to do so.