End of May target can be achieved says South Sydney’s former Wakefield Trinity captain Jason Demetriou

South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou is confident the NRL can hit its May 28 re-start date – and admits the shutdown has made people appreciate how much they love rugby league.

ON COURSE: South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou, left, with Wayne Bennett
ON COURSE: South Sydney assistant coach Jason Demetriou, left, with Wayne Bennett

The Australian game hopes to be one of the first sports to resume action after the coronavirus with its administrators announcing almost a fortnight ago that it wants to be up and running again later next month.

The NRL was halted by the pandemic after just two rounds in March but they are making plans to help see players safely return to action, even though some critics feel it is highly unlikely.

There are no timelines yet for Super League to resume but former Wakefield Trinity captain Demetriou said: “The NRL has done a great job.

TRINITY HERO: Jason Demetriou

“Peter V’landys, who has taken over as (ARL) chairman, has been quite bullish and robust as a leader in terms of getting the game underway.

“There’s the political side of that and the media driving an agenda against it. But there’s no reason why I don’t think we can if the numbers (Covid-19 cases) keep dropping the way they are.

“We’re fortunate in that we’re nowhere near the level you guys are over there (UK) in what you are dealing with.

“We have probably contained it pretty well. If those numbers continue (dropping) I can’t see why we can’t start on May 28th.”

There are objectors to the idea who feel it is too dangerous but the NRL has put in place various health caveats.

Former Keighley Cougars player-coach Demetriou added: “It may be without a crowd for the first month or two but the most important thing is getting the players safely working again and to get the product on TV.

“If we can do that, it will be a great boost for the game as there’s nothing else on TV.

“So, being front and centre stage and the only game played, will be a real boost for us.

“That’s what we’re hoping for and as coaches we’re preparing for that.

“We hope to be back in training by the fourth of May. That gives us a four week lead-in and fingers crossed it happens.

“I think this has given us a bit more appreciation of what the sport gives us and how much we do miss it when it’s taken away.”