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Stadiums prepare for NRL return

Stadiums prepare for NRL return
May 25, 2020

Stadiums that will host NRL fixtures from later this week are introducing measures to ensure the safety of all involved with the games while also ensuring rebooted NRL season is not compromised.

A report in The Brisbane Times over the weekend advises “host stadiums are being turned into quarantine zones” in accordance with the NRL's stringent list of rules and regulations, which formed part of the agreement with authorities as the code sought to be the first sport to make the most of eased Coronavirus restrictions.

With venues’ operations without crowds in round two of the NRL provided an indicator of how game days will be different for venue staff, the beginning of round three will see far greater controls on who will go in and out of the ground, health and temperature checks for everyone and clearly defined ‘clean zones’ that will only be used by players and staff in the 50-strong biosecurity bubble at the various clubs.

Up to 250 people to be allowed inside Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night for the Broncos-Eels clash. This will include players, trainers and officials, while anybody deemed essential must be on a pre-submitted list.

Suggesting that even club chairmen will be watching from home, Suncorp Stadium General Manager, Alan Graham told The Brisbane Times "it’s definitely gone to another level.

"Things have changed a lot since that last game, but it did give us a good platform to build on.

"A lot of things were put in place for that game, but certainly we’ve been able to work in additional measures with the NRL, given they have very stringent measures to get the competition up and running and we have to meet those requirements."

There will be no novelty factor about the lack of crowds this time, with media restricted to specific areas and unable to roam the empty stands for quirky camera shots

Already, Suncorp Stadium staff and contractors are being temperature tested before they can enter the ground and that will be done on Thursday for anyone who needs to be inside the venue.

Staff have not been COVID tested but have been on alert for symptoms, while the NRL has not yet made the COVIDsafe app compulsory.

Graham advised "everyone coming into the venue will be temperature tested and we have already started that process for our staff and contractors."

Suncorp Stadium has also been subjected to an intense cleaning regime with The Brisbane Times advising that the ground is essentially wiped clean every four hours, while seats that aren't even being used are pressure cleaned and disinfected.

On game day, the players and team staff will exit their buses at selected points, be temperature tested and then taken via arranged routes to dressing rooms that will have been sanitised, locked and only allowed to be opened by the teams once they arrive at the ground to prepare.

Graham adds “that’s all been carefully planned in conjunction with the NRL.

"We have planned the entry points and drop-off points and testing points, and the path to and from where they need to go ... we will have clean zones, which are totally dedicated to the use of the players and officials. Nobody else will be allowed into those spaces.

"We have access to the highest levels of cleaning specification and sanitation. That’s been fed into our routine, so we already have a really strict procedure. All the areas that will be used will get a deep clean. Those areas will then be secured and nobody will be able to go into those until they are opened up by the teams on the day."

Graham said he and his staff are well aware of their role adding “we all want one thing, which is for the NRL and all the others codes to start back.

"Everyone has worked so hard to get things to this point so we have to make sure we are up to standard and make sure our procedures are spot on, because nobody wants to let the team down. Everything has to work well at our end."

Images: Suncorp Stadium (top) and Alan Graham (below).

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