NRL still needs to be vigilant: Annesley

The end of a dispute between referees and the NRL was the final major hurdle to be cleared before next week’s resumption of the 2020 season.

But some bumps still lie ahead for the competition according to NRL head of football Graham Annesley.

The threat of legal action by referees was canned on Friday with the NRL getting the go-ahead to scrap the pocket official for 2020.

A decision on whether the game would revert to two referees or carry on with one in 2021 will be made at a later date.

That resolution was the last big obstacle to resuming the season after the COVID-19 crisis, clearing the path for round three to kick off on Thursday when Brisbane host Parramatta.

Annesley however says there’s no room for anyone in the game to relax if the season is to continue without further interruption.

“We’ve still got lots of hurdles to overcome,” he told AAP.

“We’ve still got to maintain our protocol procedure. We’ve still got to try and ensure our players stay fit and healthy and don’t get exposed to any danger from either the virus or sickness generally.

“There are still plenty of potential humps in the road ahead for us.

“Everyone wants to see us get through the whole season without interruption and they want to see crowds back and they want to see us get back to normal. That’s what we’re all focusing on.”

Another issue to be finalised in coming days will be signing off on new broadcast deals.

The ARL Commission on Tuesday approved a deal to be sent to both Nine and Fox Sports, with approval still required from both their boards.

The proposed deal has Fox Sports remain as the game’s Pay TV broadcasters until at least the end of 2027 while Nine’s deal will at this stage run until the end of 2022, however it could still extend.

Both deals are expected to be finalised before the season resumption.

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