The NSW Health Minister has dropped another damning revelation about the NRL and its decision to restart the season next month.
Channel Nine on Thursday launched a stinging broadside on the NRL for failing to consult them before confirming that May 28 was the date the competition would be back up and running by.
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It seems Channel Nine weren't the only ones the NRL left in the dark about the decision.
Incredibly, the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was news to him, despite the fact all teams and the competition will reportedly be based in Sydney.
"The NRL came to see me about a month, or five weeks, ago. There have been no further discussions," Hazzard said on Friday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says the NRL hasn't spoken to him about the competition resuming, despite the code announcing a return date yesterday.— Nine News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) April 10, 2020
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"The only meeting I've had that I can tell you about is around about a month ago, with Todd Greenberg and Peter V'Landys to talk about the issue.
"But that was before they actually made a decision to shut the game down. So, I haven't had any discussions with them at this stage," he said.
The ARL Commission announced on Thursday that it is planning to restart the NRL season on May 28, with teams expected to reunite for training earlier in the month.
Asked whether the government had given the NRL the green light to recommence its season, Hazzard said: "I haven't, but I can't comment."
Pressed on whether he agreed with the league's decision to resume, he said he is open to having the discussion.
"If the NRL want to go ahead, (I'm) happy to have the chat and make sure, with medical advice, as to whether or not it's appropriate," Hazzard said.
Hazzard did admit, however, that there are wellbeing benefits to having sport safely return for people during the health crisis.
"There's a balance to be struck here," he said.
"Whether it's the right balance, I'm happy to talk to the NRL, because as health minister, I also know that we need to have a sense of balance about our life, a sense of mental health and I know a lot of people enjoy seeing sport.
"So we can have that conversation with them.
"I'm not giving any indication one way or the other."
NRL vows to mend fractured relationship with Channel Nine
The ARLC Commission chairman Peter V'landys says he is determined to do whatever it takes to repair what can only be described as a frictious partnership with Channel Nine, following Thursday’s incredible spray.
Among other things, Channel Nine claimed it had not been consulted in discussions about the restart of the competition.
The broadcaster also accused the NRL of squandering millions of dollars over the years due to gross “mismanagement”.
The NRL went on to announce a May 28 resumption of its competition, however failed to explain how the structure of the season would look like.
Initially, a 15-round regular season, ten less than originally scheduled prior to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, was being considered.
Part of Nine's anger around that proposal is that it would break the terms of the agreement it has with the NRL - based on a 25-round competition with finals and an October grand final.
Hours after Nine's criticism, however, it emerged the league is looking at completing all 25 rounds, which would result in a November grand final.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that V’landys will have discussions with Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks in an attempt to patch things up between the NRL and Channel Nine.
“If Hugh walks away unhappy and I walk away unhappy that means we’ve done a good deal,” V’landys told the Herald.
“We value Channel Nine and Hugh Marks as our broadcast partner and I’ll do everything in my power to keep our broadcast partner happy.”
The ARLC chairman accepted the broadcaster's criticism about the game's finances and said he regretted how recent events have unfolded.
"If there's been miscommunication and Channel Nine feel they haven't been part of the process, absolutely (I apologise)," V'landys told The Nine Network.
"There's no doubt that the cost structure that's in place for the game at the moment is unsustainable, so that (criticism) is accurate."
A November finish for the NRL would mean a clash with the men's T20 World Cup, whose broadcast rights are also owned by the Nine Network.
Up to four cricket matches would coincide with possible NRL finals fixtures.