ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has fired a cheeky shot at the AFL as the NRL prepares to become the first major Australian sports league to return after a hiatus.
V’landys has been through the fire this year after COVID-19 ravaged sports leagues around the world, fighting to keep the NRL and its 16 clubs afloat.
After being criticised for his persistence in keeping the season going through the first two rounds of the season, V’landys has received praise for his handling of the crisis.
Heading into the week where games will return for the first time since Round 2, V’landys couldn’t help but take a jab at the AFL for returning two weeks earlier.
“At times I’ve looked at them and had a giggle,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The first thing I said to Wayne Pearce, who heads Project Apollo, is that we won’t be using “bubbles”. We’ll just need self-isolation — and I was right.
“Three weeks later, the AFL was still looking at bubbles. But no: I was more worried about us and making sure my predictions were the right ones.
“I said, nine weeks ago, that we could train in Victoria and Queensland — at that stage we couldn’t. I said the Warriors could come over — at that stage we couldn’t.”
Ahead of the NRL’s return, V’landys has suggested that he never should have shut the game down despite the pandemic sweeping across the nation.
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However, he admitted that keeping the game going throughout the pandemic would have been a “nightmare” situation.
“Public relations-wise, it would’ve been difficult,” he said.
“People would’ve asked, ‘Why is rugby league still going and we’re not?’ It would’ve been a nightmare, along with the closure of the borders.
“But racing proved you can do it properly if you follow the correct biosecurity measures.
“People say players are spitting all over each other. But if they’re all negative, what does it matter?”