NRL boss hits out at ‘ill-informed’ AFL chiefs
The boss of the NRL has hit out at the AFL as rugby league players return to training this week with a view to relaunching their season on May 28.
While the return of the AFL could be delayed until late June or early July as negotiations with the Andrews Government and other states drag on, NRL chairman Peter V'landys said it was full steam ahead for his code.
Mr V'landys was ridiculed by senior Victorian football figures a month ago for pitching his ambitious restart vision and accused of social irresponsibility.
"I'm used to that sort of rhetoric from Victoria, it's nothing new for me," Mr V'landys told the Herald Sun.
"We set ourselves a challenge and a target date. Everyone has got behind it in the rugby league world and if we achieve it, it's an achievement by the game itself.
"So those people (within the AFL) should really have been concentrating on their own business and their own activities without making ill-informed comments about something they know nothing about."
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Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick has applauded the NRL's "aspirational-type leadership", saying he wished the AFL had followed Mr V'landys lead and set a return date at the height of the coronavirus crisis.
Asked why Victorians sporting bodies had a tendency to think they were better at running sport than those in NSW, Mr V'landys said: "I've got myself into trouble many times before on this question so maybe I should just leave this one alone. I'm already the No. 1 dart board down there, you can't go any higher.
"Look, I found some of the alarmist rhetoric disappointing because when we stopped the competition, the infection rate was 25 per cent.
"In the last 18 days it has been less than one per cent in NSW.
"We set ourselves a target date and we were going to wait, over those eight weeks, to see if that infection rate continued to go down.
"When these people (AFL figures) were making comments they were ill-informed because they were really making the comments as if it was happening that day - but it wasn't happening on that day - it was happening on the 28th of May. And as people have seen already, things are changing.
"I'm not a person that just sits back. That's just me, it's in my DNA. I'm not going to change it for some Victorian chairmen."
AFL commission chairman Richard Goyder has rarely been seen since the crisis began, leaving league chief executive Gillon McLachlan and a hand-picked "war cabinet" of club presidents including Collingwood's Eddie McGuire to do the talking.
"I haven't seen anything that's impressed me with the NRL at the moment," Mr McGuire said last week.
The Queensland state government agreed to open its borders to NRL teams on Friday clearing the way for Australia's second-biggest sport to reload.
"I said I was as keen as anyone else to see the NRL return and I meant it," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
Another major roadblock was passed by the NRL on Saturday when the New Zealand Warriors were granted special approval to enter Australia ahead of the May 28 rugby league restart.
Originally published as NRL boss hits out at 'ill-informed' AFL chiefs