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V'landys optimistic about June 1 restart, Pearce says 'definitely' by July

ARL chairman Peter V'landys has revealed he is "getting optimistic" that the NRL season could restart on June 1. 

The Commission boss on Saturday said the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in Australia had resulted in dramatic reductions in the infection rate.

He told Triple M the government has "allowed us to play tomorrow if we wanted to, they've exempted us in the health order last Monday".

His fellow ARL Commissioner, Wayne Pearce, was also on radio on Saturday, telling ABC Grandstand he was "reservedly optimistic" about a June 1 restart.

"July 1 in my opinion we'll definitely have the competition up and running. By early June, I am quietly optimistic about that," Pearce said.

The NRL season would finish in December if they choose to restart play with State of Origin. The interstate contest could be slotted in midway through the season or at the end of the year among the many scenarios being considered.

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"I'm very optimistic that the first of June is an attainable date, it's still eight weeks away, it's not as though it's tomorrow," V'landys said.

"When we shut the game down, when we suspended the season, the infection rate in NSW was running at 23%, yesterday it was at 3.9% and 4.3% so it's actually gone down dramatically."

If the competition restarted in June, he said each team would play each other at least once and potentially add a few local derbies to the draw if there was room for more than a 15-round format, as well as the finals and State of Origin series.

"It's actually safer to play rugby league now than what it was when we were playing the game," V'landys added.

"I don't want to get too excited because we need these figures to continue to be on the downward spiral and if they remain at four or five percent for the next two weeks there's no reason whatsoever we can't restart the game.

"And I'm getting optimistic now that the first of June is a date that we can look at. A week ago we were looking at the first of July.

"The better these figures are, the better it is for us. We have to introduce the harshest biosecurity measures in order to play the game safely.

"Our first priority in our decision-making process is the health of the players and the second is the health of the community and we are not going to take any risks with the community. We are not going to take any risks with the the community.

"I think we can meet both those objectives and get the game back on the park pretty quickly."

As far as isolating players, the ARL chairman said options including Gladstone, Tangalooma Island and Sydney's Olympic precinct were being considered.