THE Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) on Tuesday approved the first phase of a venue strategy for the resumption of the NRL premiership, which kicks-off on May 28.
Six venues - Bankwest Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium, Central Coast Stadium, Suncorp Stadium, QCB Stadium and AAMI Park - will be used during phase one and were selected on a range of factors, including those best equipped to meet the NRL's strict biosecurity protocols which have been formulated to keep players, staff and the general community healthy.
Other factors included geographic location, rectangular rather than oval stadiums and commercial considerations.
All matches will be consolidated into six venues with no crowds.
These venues will be used for at least rounds three to nine before a review is conducted.
During these seven rounds of action, Parramatta (featuring Batemans Bay's Brad Arthur and Shellharbour's Jai Field), Canterbury-Bankstown (Tathra's Adam Elliott), South Sydney (Nowra-born Cody Walker), Cronulla-Sutherland and the Sydney Roosters (Albion Park-Oak Flats' Drew Hutchison and Kiama's Josh and Brett Morris) will all play their home fixtures out of Bankwest Stadium.
Campbelltown Stadium will host St George Illawarra (Gerringong's Jackson Ford and Tariq and Korbin Sims, Shellharbour's Trent Merrin, Pambula's Euan Aitken and Albion Park-Oak Flats' Adam Clune), West Tigers, Penrith and Canberra (Milton-Ulladulla's Jack Murchie), while Newcastle (Batemans Bay's Adam O'Brien), New Zealand and Manly-Warringah (Gerringong's Reuben Garrick and Cobargo's Morgan Boyle) will play out of Central Coast Stadium.
Outside of NSW, Brisbane (Moruya's Rhys Kennedy) and Gold Coast (Milton-Ulladulla's Justin Holbrook and Kiama's Mitch Rein) will base themselves at Suncorp Stadium, as North Queensland and Melbourne (Bega's Dale Finucane) will play out of their regular home grounds - which are QCB Stadium and AAMI Park respectively.
The official draw, to be released on Thursday, will allocate venues until round nine of the competition but will not allocate venues for matches in round 10 and beyond.
Acting NRL chief executive officer Andrew Abdo said the strategy was designed to ensure all venues provided the safest possible environment for players and staff, based on the code's strict biosecurity protocols.
"The competition will begin with a consolidated approach to venues," Abdo said.
"Each venue requires customised infrastructure to meet our strict biosecurity requirements.
"We've adopted a phased approach for venues should restrictions be eased in the future.
"We've chosen three consolidated venues for clubs in and around Sydney to ensure there are no double-headers at venues and in different parts of the region to meet the geographical challenges we face."