Jenna Brooks looks at the latest news as the NRL is back!

May 26, 2020

The countdown is just about over for the return of the NRL and you can see every game from round three and four live on Sky Sports.

And the news continues to get better from Australia. Peter V'landys - the Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, has declared he wants crowds back at games by July 1st, which is the start of round 8.

"We're on the moon," V'landys told the Herald. "We're looking for Mars now.

"If the infection rate stays as low as it does and nothing new is coming in from overseas, the risk is going to be pretty low. So why wouldn't we have crowds? We'll do that in the same fashion we did with the return of the game.

"The next test for us is once they relax the measures, we want to see in the next three weeks if the infection rate is altered in any fashion. If it hasn't, we'll be pushing very hard for crowds …. capped crowds. We're looking at July 1."

Bateman responds

John Bateman has hit out at the media for suggesting that on four occasions he has requested a release from his club the Canberra Raiders.

The England international insisted it was fake news and he wants to stay in the nation's capital.

"It has never happened and it's a load of rubbish. But I have to try and have a laugh at it because otherwise my head would probably fall off if not."

The club have however reportedly given Bateman written permission to explore the possibility of landing another offer from a rival club for 2021.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald the former Wigan star, is earning $600,000 (£325,000) and is hoping for a deal close to $800,000 (£430,000) over the next four years.

"People are saying 'oh, you're being greedy'," Bateman told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Tell me which person in day to day life wouldn't think about leaving their job if they could get more money for potentially double the length of time?

"Of course you think about it. It doesn't mean I want to leave, but you look into it. I'm sitting here with my fingers crossed hoping something does change at Canberra.

"When I'm 45 and struggling to stand up, or trying to put my daughter through university, no one is going to ring me and say 'you know that extra few hundred grand you were hoping to get? We've got it for you now.'

"She's my girl, that's who I wake up every day for. That's the reason I go to work, to give her the best life possible."

Well said! Who could begrudge the star player that!

Bateman has been linked with St George Illawarra

Another scandal

Another day another scandal ahead of the NRL's season relaunch on Thursday.

Cronulla youngster Bronson Xerri has been provisionally stood down after failing a drugs test, which was completed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority last November.

Xerri is facing a potential four-year ban after returning a positive result for various performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone, which are prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the NRL's anti-doping policy.

Interim NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has told Sky Sports it's disappointing but insists it won't overshadow the fact the game is returning on Thursday.

"It's always disappointing when things like this happen, but this is part and parcel of professional sport.

"We have obviously a significant amount of resources invested in our integrity unit and this was something that was run by ASADA and the player has an opportunity to follow their rights through this process.

"It's always disappointing when things like this happen, but having said that there is a group of about 400 professional players that have made unbelievable sacrifices over the last couple of weeks, who are all raring to go and the focus is going to be very much on them and the 16 clubs.

"Bronson will need to follow the process that unfolds from that ASADA perspective and we will certainly respect that process."

ASADA investigators have seized Xerri's phone. Under the league's policy, he has the opportunity to have his B-sample analysed.

NRL Round 3 Sky Sports schedule

All games live on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix.

Thursday
Brisbane Broncos vs Parrmatta Eels (10.50am)
Friday
North Queensland Cowboys vs Gold Coast Titans (9am)
Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (10.55am)
Saturday
New Zealand Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons (6am)
Cronulla Sharks vs Wests Tigers (8.30am)
Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders (10.35am)
Sunday
Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights (7.05am)
Manly Sea Eagles vs Canterbury Bulldogs (9.30am)

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