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Plan floated to relocate NRL to tropical island

Moreton Island, Brisbane, Australia (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherlullstein bild via Getty Images)

Australian former rugby league player Chris Johns is pushing an idea to move the country’s NRL teams to an island off the coast of Brisbane, in an effort to restart the season.

Johns’ plan would involve players, team staff, match officials and media being housed at Tangalooma Island Resort, on Moreton Island. They would be ferried to the mainland to play games at nearby stadiums – Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, Redcliffe Stadium and Gold Coast’s Cbus Super Stadium.

Johns has been discussing the plan on various media platforms in Australian and said he has forwarded it to NRL officials. Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter FitzSimons wrote the idea was “preposterous. But it just might work”.

Last month, the NRL was reported to be considering moving the teams and players to a mining facility with vacant accommodation, in a similar effort to keep the league running. “Relocation is definitely an option and we are looking at that right at the moment,” Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys told The Courier-Mail at the time.

Australian media group Nine reported that Johns said the previous plan was a good idea, and his was an improvement on it: “When you look at this proposal…there’s a lot more infrastructure in place, you’ve got three wonderful stadiums. You’ve got a situation where you’ve got an island, so you’ve got total isolation.

“You’ve got a transport system where you’ve got fliers that can ferry the players and officials and everyone that has to be from the island to the mainland in 30-40 minutes, straight into a bus, a totally isolated bus.

“The bus goes to the stadium, no one’s in the stadium. The game gets played and then, bang, back on to a bus, back on to that transport and back on to an island which is totally isolated.

“The beautiful thing is, there’s 1,500 beds there; and that’s before you start going to Jayco or other caravan people, bringing in winnebagos and setting up a lot more infrastructure.

“But at the start, there’s 1,500 rooms and on top of that, you’ve got a [grass] airstrip that’s 900m long, so you can put four or five football fields on it. There’s going to be ample room for training facilities and ample room for sleeping people.

“There’s infrastructure in place for kitchens and supplying food. When you look at it, it’s an absolute ideal situation.”