NRL, AFL, Netball postponed in Queensland

updated By Te Ao - Māori News

The lockdown begins at 4pm on Saturday after the Australian state recorded six new cases of coronavirus today, all linked to a case identified on Friday. 

A 17-year-old high school student tested positive to the Delta strain of Covid-19 on Friday. Health officials this morning reported that the girl's four family members, a medical student who tutors the girl, and a staff member from Ironside State School (where one of the siblings attends school) all returned positive tests.

Queensland Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, says the lockdown, which covers 11 local government areas in the southeast of the state, was the best way to beat the Delta strain of the virus. 

Residents will only be allowed to leave their house to obtain essential goods within 10km of their homes; essential work, school or childcare; exercise; and medical care.

"This is one of the most restrictive lockdowns we've had since the start of the pandemic, which makes sense because this is the most infectious variant we've had since the start of the pandemic," Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

Young said there will be no sport, either at local community level or professional level, until 4pm Tuesday at the earliest. It throws key competitions such as the NRL into disarray as all 16 clubs have relocated to Queensland due to the outbreak in NSW. 

The NRL has since placed all 16 clubs on level 4 biosecurity protocols in the wake of the Queensland government announcing a snap three-day lockdown on Saturday morning. All clubs have been advised to inform their players to return to the team hotels and remain there until further notice.

In a statement, NRL officials said they are working with the Queensland Government, clubs and broadcast partners to determine the best course of action for Saturday's matches.

Round 20 has seen three matches completed so far, including the NZ Warriors breaking their win drought Friday night against the Wests Tigers in Brisbane. However, reports from Australian media indicate NRL officials are holding emergency talks with Queensland health officials to gain an exemption to continue the round, including the much anticipated grand final rematch between the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. 

The lockdown also affects AFL round 20 matches scheduled to be played in the Sunshine State, while super netball games due to be played on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon are also up in the air. None of the governing bodies of the three sports has confirmed cancellations or postponements.

Young said schools will remain open on Monday and Tuesday, but only for children of essential workers.