Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga is still clinging onto hope that the historic tour of Great Britain will still proceed at season’s end, despite sport around the world coming to a halt in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NRL is grappling with the possibility that its 2020 season may see no return, while there are still discussions going on around how both the State of Origin series and Test matches could still be factored into the calendar.
Meninga and his Kangaroos side were due to tour Great Britain for the first time in over 15 years across October and November.
But as Europe’s infection rates in particular continue to soar, the likelihood of the tour going ahead appear increasingly unlikely.
Meanwhile, the NRL have also outlined September as the latest possible time the season could be rebooted, which would mean a shortened-season wouldn’t be completed until the middle of December.
However, whilst accepting a Kangaroos tour is unlikely should the season restart, Meninga says representative matches would provide the perfect compromise should the NRL be relaunched
“We’ve still got maybe the window in October and November to play some rugby league,” Meninga told Fox League Live on Thursday.
“If the competition can’t get up and going in September but we’re recovering all around the world and we’re recovering here, and the players are training.
“I’m the eternal optimist, always have been and always will be.
“I’m hoping we may even have an Origin series through October and maybe a Test series through November to lift the spirits of players and fans and our commercial partners as well.”
With the season suspended, the NRL and its 16 clubs are gradually descending into a financial catastrophe as they explore various alternatives to ensure the game returns in some capacity this year.
Should the NRL be unable to be rebooted before the September cutoff, the idea of just playing representative footy has been raised.
Cronulla captain and NSW Blues star Wade Graham has urged the NRL to explore the possibility of restarting the season with a State of Origin series.
“I think we should have Origin back in when we get that first weekend back in with the crowds to kick it back off,” Graham told Fox League Live on Wednesday.
“I think all ideas need to be explored.”