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Queensland games switched to Kogarah double-header; AAMI Park gets green light

The NRL will move its two Saturday games out of Queensland in response to the state's COVID-19 outbreak with the Titans, Raiders, Sharks and Cowboys to clash in a double-header at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

The Victorian government has granted exemptions for the Broncos to travel into the state for Melbourne's round-four home game, which will go ahead as planned at AAMI Park on Good Friday.

Cronulla's home game that was scheduled to be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium will now revert to their temporary home ground at Kogarah, in a slightly earlier 5.15pm AEDT timeslot.

The Gold Coast's clash with Canberra will follow at 7.45pm AEDT.

As revealed by NRL.com on Tuesday, the Titans are in the process of relocating to Sydney, due to arrive on Wednesday afternoon, where they will remain "until the NRL’s health experts are comfortable the risk of infection on the Gold Coast has subsided".

The Titans were due to host Canberra and Newcastle on the Gold Coast over the next two weeks.

It is understood the Knights game is also unlikely to be held at Cbus Super Stadium, though the developing COVID-19 situation will dictate that scheduling.

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The Cowboys will fly to Sydney on Friday on a charter flight and return to Townsville after full-time.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the moves to relocate the games and Titans to Sydney ensured the governing body minimises the risk of fixtures being postponed or disrupted further.

"By confirming the relocation of games today all clubs, players and fans have certainty to plan for the weekend’s fixtures and as a game we eliminate the risk around whether those matches will take place," Abdo said.

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"I want to thank all clubs who are making sacrifices for the greater good of our game. These are difficult decisions to make but decisions that ensure our competition continues this weekend without interruption."

Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend said the shift to their temporary home ground at Kogarah - due to PointsBet Stadium being under construction until next year - offered the most advantage in terms of recovery, and backed the stadium's surface to hold up across two NRL fixtures.

"It’s a few more nights in your own bed and not being on a plane," he said.

"You have your recovery in terms of wearing your Skins on the plane and travelling and being on time so you can go straight home, but mentally and physically it is an advantage for sure.

"It’s quite often we have curtain-raisers before our game. We had a curtain-raiser before our game last weekend and the field was OK."

The Broncos meanwhile will fly in and out to Melbourne on Good Friday on a charter flight and will be under strict biosecurity rules - similar to last season - while in the Victorian capital.

Brisbane are already operating under similarly heavy restrictions in Sydney.

They have an exemption to leave their hotel only to train or to go into the foyer to collect meals to take back to their rooms.

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Speaking on Tuesday, captain Alex Glenn said the Broncos would do whatever was needed to help the competition after shifting indefinitely to Sydney on Monday.

"When we left yesterday there was the uncertainty of we’re going to be staying for two weeks but there could be the possibility it could be a lot longer," Glenn said.

"We are prepared for the worst and we’ve got all the support up in Brisbane and the Gold Coast to look after our families.

"At the end of the day the Warriors did it for 12 months and I put myself in their shoes it’s definitely hard but I know all our families up in Brisbane have the support.

"It is definitely a sacrifice being away from your family, especially when you have kids, but in saying that we’re trying to keep the game alive for the other teams to play.

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"Who knows how long it’s going to be but our team's in good spirits, we’re ready for what’s ahead and we’re just taking it day by day and plan it like that.

"We are preparing for the worst but if we get back sooner it’s a bonus."

Canterbury players and staff were also placed into a COVID-19 "bubble" – the same scenario that operated for much of the 2020 season – following their round three trip to Brisbane.

The 21-man Bulldogs playing squad and coaching staff that travelled to Suncorp Stadium last week have only been allowed to train and leave their homes for essential reasons from Tuesday.

All players and staff will undergo COVID-19 testing after Thursday's captain's run ahead of the South Sydney clash.