Sydney snub: Broncos baulk at Harbour City switch
The Broncos have baulked at a relocation proposal to Sydney and are investigating a self-isolation camp in the NSW Northern Rivers should the NRL's flagship club be forced to abandon Queensland.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Broncos have a contingency plan to hold an Origin-style camp in far-north NSW if the Queensland government refuses to relax border controls in time for the NRL's planned relaunch on May 28.
The development comes as ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys vowed to do everything possible to avoid pulling Broncos, Cowboys and Titans players out of the Sunshine State.
The NRL is leaving no stone unturned to resume the premiership next month and that extends to the three Queensland teams - the Broncos, Cowboys and Titans - shifting to Sydney if the league cannot overcome border restrictions related to the COVID-19 saga.
The Titans have indicated they are prepared to relocate 842km to Sydney, but the Broncos are exploring other options to remain as close to the Queensland border as possible.
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Queensland's glamour club is considering setting up base in the NSW Northern Rivers if they are required to recommence training as planned on Monday, May 4.
Proposed location sites include Tweed Heads or Kingscliff, which has previously hosted the NSW Origin team and more recently the Warriors when the coronavirus pandemic forced their relocation for last month's clash against Canberra.
The Broncos hope a self-isolation training camp just south of the Tweed would allow a less disruptive return to Red Hill if the Queensland government eventually relaxes border rules for NRL travel in late May.
The Broncos' preference is to get the government green light to remain on Queensland soil. A four-month move to Sydney is a last-resort option with the Broncos instead drawing up plans for training sessions on the far NSW north-coast.
Mindful of the toll on players' families, V'landys is reluctant to displace Queensland's three teams and hopes talks with the state government can keep the Broncos, Cowboys and Titans at home.
"I remain confident that we will not have to relocate the Queensland teams," V'landys said.
"There is still plenty of time to sort this out.
"This (May 28 competition relaunch) is a massive jigsaw puzzle and that's why we needed six weeks to get this organised.
"We're not playing tomorrow. We're playing at the end of May and if the infection rate (from coronavirus) stabilises, that gives us time to get teams back on the field."
The Cowboys are one of the most-travelled teams in the competition and are better placed to co-ordinate travel plans.
The club is considering taking a dozen staff members down to NSW along with the playing group, if the team is required to set up camp south of the border, however, they are still waiting on more concrete details around the possible duration of the season and where they would be situated.
North Queensland coach Paul Green said the club was committed to helping the NRL season resume and was prepared to do whatever was feasible.
"We haven't really yet (discussed moving to NSW) because I think once you start that conversation there's so many questions that will arise that we can't answer," Green told Channel 9's Sunday Footy Show.
"There's so much still up in the air. We haven't really gone down that path too seriously yet.
"I will say, we're committed to getting the comp back on and we'll do whatever we can but you have to balance that with what's feasible and what's healthy for our players as well."
Originally published as Sydney snub: Broncos baulk at Harbour City switch