NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
Have we seen the end of the NRL as we know it?
Last Updated: 23/03/20 3:10pm
Unlike most other sports around the world, we saw round two of the NRL played last week behind closed doors, with the governing body doing everything they could to keep the season going.
With the number of confirmed cases rising in Australia, it was the decision to close the Queensland border that, in the end, forced the competition to be suspended.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg held a conference call with club chief executives on Monday evening before making the news public shortly after.
"Rugby league will survive in some way. I can't guarantee it will be in the same way it is at the moment. No one knows. No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last," V'landys said.
From Tuesday the NRL made the decision to close their offices until at least May 1, with employees being forced to take annual leave, and those who may not have enough will accrue negative leave, a decision to help with cost-cutting.
While the AFL announced on Sunday the season would be on hold until the end of May, the NRL haven't put a timeframe on how long they expect their game to be postponed for.
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold said the health and safety of the players, staff and wider community is the priority.
"We'll brief the players after we get information on the possible contingencies from the NRL, when the competition may start again - we've got some plans in place that will keep the group working towards our performances in the back end of the year, or whenever the competition restarts."
Seibold's thoughts were echoed by the Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner.
"Although we're disappointed with the outcome of today's decision, we agree with the NRL that the health and wellbeing of our players and staff remains paramount during these tough times," Furner said.
Earlier this month the NRL admitted that if the league was postponed, it would run out of its cash reserves within three months.
In a move to help support the 16 clubs, last week the NRL opened up its distress fund, providing each club with approximately AUS$425,000 (£212,000).
The games two major broadcast partners pay a total of AUS$13m (£6.5m) per round to the NRL, of course with games now not being played that payment stops.
V'landys has called it catastrophic, with the sport having never faced a challenge like it.
"You can't understate it. It's probably the biggest challenge the game will ever face financially."
There is a meeting scheduled at the NRL on Tuesday morning to discuss the next steps and to understand the impact of the decision.