Chemical weapons expert drafted into NRL border war

THE NRL has enlisted a chemical warfare expert to help create a watertight biosecurity plan it hopes will convince Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to let the season get back under way.

Palaszczuk yesterday urged the NRL to provide her with the reasons why the game should be allowed to recommence its 2020 season in Queensland from May 28.

The NRL has committed to restarting the premiership next month, but may have to play all games in NSW if Palaszczuk doesn't relax Queensland border restrictions or grant the code a travel exemption.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys is confident Queensland's borders will be open in time for the season reboot, especially with encouraging COVID-19 statistics over the past week in NSW and Queensland.


ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys. Britta Campion / The Australian
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys. Britta Campion / The Australian


V'landys has been in contact with the Premier and the NRL will present a comprehensive plan in the coming days about why the game is safe to recommence.

"All credit goes to Troy Grant and Wayne Pearce (Project Apollo members) who have done an enormous amount of work talking to five or six experts, one being a chemical warfare expert," V'landys said.

"They haven't left a stone unturned to get it right.

"We believe that by introducing these biosecurity measures, the players will be safer if they follow them than they would be in the general community.

"The proof is in the pudding to a certain degree because there hasn't been one player test positive with not as strict protocols in place."

Palaszczuk responded to The Courier-Mail's report yesterday that the fate of Queensland's three clubs - the Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans - was in her hands.


The Premier said she was waiting to read the NRL's report with Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeannette Young before assessing the border situation.

"I call on the NRL to submit that detailed plan and I will immediately forward it to Dr Young for her consideration and to report back to me," she said.

"I'm saying to NRL - send the detailed plan, send all of your health information, send how it's all going to work.

"Put it in a detailed plan and I'm more than happy to forward it to Dr Young. Dr Young has said today she's more than happy to consider it.

"I think they've been dealing with the NSW Government and I think they need to submit it to all other governments that have NRL teams.

"The sooner they get it in, the better it will be."



The NRL is of the belief Queensland's border restrictions will be relaxed by May 28 on the back of Australia's encouraging coronavirus infection statistics.

Palaszczuk reported yesterday there had been two new positive cases in Queensland on the back of zero new infections on Wednesday.

Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the Townsville-based club was hoping to have more information about the situation over the weekend.

"There are a number of things we still don't know," he said.

"We have to be training on May 4 and that could be in different locations.

"Those biosecurity plans are going to be provided to the Queensland Government in a very short time.

"No one has seen those plans to the level they will see in 24-48 hours."


Originally published as Chemical weapons expert drafted into NRL border war