The SP Hunters team’s return to Port Moresby today (Monday March 16) following their 32-30 win over South Logan Magpies yesterday in Brisbane in Round 1 of the 2020 Intrust Super Cup competition has been deferred.
PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau in a media statement released a short time ago said the SP Hunters players and coaching staff will remain in Brisbane for the next seven days due to the Australian Federal Government’s announcement yesterday on measures taken to control the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19.
“We have been in consultation with the Queensland Rugby League (QRL) and last night agreed for the team to remain in Brisbane for another week and in line with the Australian Government’s directive,” Rau said.
He said the directive was that a 14 -day self –isolation /quarantine will apply to all incoming travellers into Australia which became effective as of midnight last night March 15.
“This simply means that our SP Hunters team could not leave and re-enter without isolation and be ineligible to play games in the Intrust Super Cup competition while under isolation. This includes visiting teams to PNG,” Rau said.
He said QRL and NRL advised there will be no international travel for all players and staff.
“As a result, NRL have taken this approach with New Zealand Warriors,” Rau said.
The CEO said at this stage, the SP Hunters will remain in Brisbane until next Sunday March 22 when the decision will be reviewed.
“Any changes, extensions and updates to this 7-day contingency plan will be made in the next 48 hours or as soon as possible,” Rau said.
He said coach Matthew Church and the team had a meeting last night following the decision from QRL and have agreed to remain in Brisbane and prepare for the round 2 match against Townsville Blackhawks.
“This round 2 fixture against Townsville Blackhawks which was to be played in Port Moresby this Sunday March 22 will now be played at Sunshine Coast stadium on Saturday March 21 as a double header with the Sunshine Coast Falcons versus Tweed Heads Seagulls match behind closed doors,” Rau said.
He said the team relocated to their new home at Sports Hub Kawana on the Sunshine Coast for the next 7 days.
“We are grateful to QRL for assisting and supporting our team with accommodation, meals and training field and gym facilities and athlete support services,” Rau said.
Coach Matthew Church said from Brisbane this morning he was extremely proud of the group deciding to stay and support the ISC to continue for round 2.
“I think that is huge of the playing group and staff to put the competition ahead of everything else,” Church said.
“It’s an ever-changing environment, so I only asked them to commit to 7 days at this stage then make further decisions when further information comes to hand.”
Both the CEO and Coach acknowledged the support and understanding of our valued sponsors and partners, stakeholders and everyone throughout PNG.
“We are grateful for your continued support as we stand together and weave through this unchartered waters and difficult times with the wisdom and protection of our God Almighty,” Rau concluded.
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