Gladstone's pitch to rescue 2020 NRL season
Gladstone could be the temporary home of the National Rugby League as details come to light as what the 2020 season might look like amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett has pitched to the NRL for the near empty Homeground workers camp near Calliope to act as a housing facility for NRL teams and broadcasters.
Having hosted National Rugby League games in the past at Marley Brown Oval, Cr Burnett said Gladstone had proved it was capable.
"They know we are willing and able to support them, our offer is on the table," he said.
NRL.com has reported that this week's Round 2 matches will be played behind closed doors, but fans can watch live on television or online.
The details of how Gladstone's proposal for the remaining season are yet to be fleshed out, but Cr Burnett said one option would be for the city to act as a hub for NRL teams to live and train.
It is his belief that the combination of a high-level rugby ground at Marley Brown Oval and quality training facilities and workers accommodation is unmatched in Australia.
The hub could be set up as a controlled zone to prevent potential exposure to coronavirus, and charter flights from Gladstone Airport could ferry players to grounds in cities such as Rockhampton, Townsville and Brisbane.
Cr Burnett said a third of the games each round could be hosted in Gladstone.
He said as well as giving the NRL a short to medium term option to allow the season to go ahead, the move would be a boost to local business owners.
One of the terms of the offer is most goods and services needed by players and support staff would come from local businesses.
"Here we have an opportunity to save the National Rugby League and support our local businesses," Cr Burnett said.
It is understood that the New Zealand Warriors will decide shortly on whether the team will stay in Australia after this Saturday's game against Canberra.
Cr Burnett said that players and staff being away from their families for an extended period would be tough, but Gladstone could host them.