ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has cast doubt on the NRL's plans to resume the competition next month, but says the Canberra Raiders would be free to train in the capital if health advice allowed.
The NRL is pushing ahead with plans for a May 28 return, with meetings set with both major broadcasters from Tuesday.
The falling rate of new COVID-19 cases has left the NRL confident about a return to the field in six weeks' time.
But Barr is uncertain whether the competition can resume so soon, given the rapidly changing landscape.
"I don't blame them for wanting to plan, wanting to restart and wanting to get back into the competition. Of course every sporting code wants to do that but from this vantage point it does seem highly unlikely," Barr said.
The NRL wants to give clubs at least four weeks of full-contact training before the competition resumes to ensure they're match-ready.
If the competition was given the green light to resume on May 28, training would ideally commence on the week of April 27.
The Raiders would need to follow health advice and gain permission from the ACT government to train in Canberra during that timeframe.
They could potentially cross the border to train at Seiffert Oval if needed, have previously been based out of Queanbeyan.
"If health advice was that rugby league could take place in NSW, Queensland and other parts of the country, then presumably that advice would apply here in the ACT," Barr said on Monday.
Barr's comments come after Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Sunday that border restrictions would not be eased for NRL clubs.
It means the three Queensland-based teams would have to remain in NSW to play in the revised competition without going into a 14-day quarantine.
There are no restrictions on cross-border movement between the ACT and NSW.
Barr said the Raiders would be able to play at an empty Canberra Stadium if health authorities deemed it safe to do so, but believes that could still be a long way off.
"Presumably if the health advice allowed it. It's difficult to envisage crowds so it would be empty stadiums for all in that circumstance," he said.
"The chief health officer for the nation observed [on Sunday] that we're a long way from that. I don't blame the football codes for wanting to talk up a restart but we're a long way from that at this point in time."
But there was at least some good news for the league ahead of their planned May 28 comeback.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller reasserted his position that the NRL could play again in the state if it cleared some health hurdles, as outlined a in a letter last week to league bosses.
The state's health minister Brad Hazzard also backed the NRL to work through any workplace safety issues with games behind closed doors.
"As health minister, I have to remind everyone that there are work health and safety issues, and health issues," he said.
"I'm sure the NRL - a very mature organisation - will work through these issues in due course."
The Melbourne Storm are preparing to be based in NSW on restart, with the Victorian Government yet to say if the Storm would be able to train in the southern state.
The New Zealand Warriors would also have to be based in NSW and, while due to arrive in the next week, they were still awaiting an exemption to travel.
The Canberra Raiders had yet to respond to requests for comment.
- With AAP
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