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NRL picks six venues for season restart

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19th May, 2020
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Parramatta will be the only NSW club to play home games at their fulltime ground for at least the first seven weeks of the restarted NRL season.

The NRL confirmed on Tuesday that only six venues will be used until the end of round nine, before a further review of biosecurity measures which may allow more grounds to be used.

Under the new model, North Queensland will play games at Townsville’s new QCB Stadium.

Melbourne will play out of their home at AAMI Park, while Brisbane and the Gold Coast will share Suncorp Stadium.

In Sydney, Parramatta, Canterbury, South Sydney, Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters will host games at Bankwest Stadium.

It means the Roosters’ won’t play their blockbuster return match against South Sydney at the SCG as they had hoped.

The Wests Tigers, Canberra, St George Illawarra and Penrith will share Campbelltown Stadium.

And the Gosford-based Warriors, Manly and Newcastle will use Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.

“Each venue requires customised infrastructure to meet our strict biosecurity requirements,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

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“We’ve adopted a phased approach for venues should restrictions be eased in the future.

“We’ve chosen three consolidated venues for clubs in and around Sydney to ensure there are no double headers at venues.”

Grounds were chosen based on those best equipped to meet the NRL’s biosecurity measures.

Geographic location and the preference for rectangular venues rather than ovals also came into consideration.

The move is a big boost for the Eels, who have won 10 from 12 matches at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta and were undefeated in the first two rounds.

They are now among the premiership favourites.

Melbourne are among the other big winners, as only they and the Warriors will train daily out of the venue they are playing at.

The Storm usually train nearby at Gosch’s Paddock, but that is now being used by Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels so they get to use AAMI Park.

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“It’s an advantage for us,” Storm centre Marion Seve said.

“This is where we’ll be playing so getting used to the ground and grass is a huge advantage for us.”

The venue plan was met with some disappointment on the Gold Coast, who had hoped to play out of their regular ground CBus Super Stadium but must now travel to Brisbane.

However Gold Coast prop Shannon Boyd insisted that it would not bog the team down.

“If we’re playing footy I’m happy,” Boyd said.

“As long as we can get back playing that’s the main thing.”

The remainder of the NRL draw will be released on Thursday, with venues marked as TBA from round 10 on.

WHERE EACH TEAM WILL PLAY:-

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Bankwest Stadium: Parramatta, Canterbury, South Sydney, Cronulla, Sydney Roosters

Campbelltown Stadium: St George Illawarra, Wests Tigers, Penrith, Canberra

Central Coast Stadium: Newcastle, Warriors, Manly

Suncorp Stadium: Brisbane, Gold Coast

QCB Stadium: North Queensland

AAMI Park: Melbourne

© AAP