Players will struggle in bubble: Gallen

Paul Gallen feels NRL players will struggle to live in "bubbles" away from their families.
Paul Gallen feels NRL players will struggle to live in "bubbles" away from their families.

Paul Gallen doubts whether players will last a month under an NRL proposal to house teams in compounds in a bid to resume the competition, saying they may not come out the other side as "normal human beings".

The NRL is believed to be discussing plans to build four "bubble" communities to adhere to the government's strict self-isolation policy to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The "bubble" will feature four teams each as the NRL explores ways to re-start the competition by June.

Melbourne Storm football boss Frank Ponissi revealed north Queensland, Brisbane/Sunshine Coast, NSW's Central Coast and Canberra were proposed locations.

Ponissi added players were keen to do whatever it takes to get back on the field after taking massive pay cuts due to the coronavirus shutdown, even spending extended time away from their families.

But former NSW captain Gallen claimed players would not last long living together in a compound.

"If we lock players away in isolated communities for three or four months, maybe more, do you expect them just to be normal human beings coming out the other side? It's a big question mark," Gallen wrote on Wide World of Sports website.

"I know they want to do it. They need to earn money to feed their families and pay the bills ... (and) they've got a competitive streak and simply want to play.

"But I don't think they've thought past the first month.

"An NRL squad has 30 players, meaning 30 different personalities. Some guys could handle this plan, some couldn't and you could hardly blame them."

Ex-Cronulla skipper Gallen believed he got an insight into what the players would face living in isolation together while on an eight-week 2013 World Cup campaign.

"By the fifth week, some blokes had had enough. And that was when we were touring some of the great cities of the world," he said.

"Blokes were missing home and family so much that they'd had enough, just halfway through.

"So consider the sacrifice that players could be asked to make now. If these guys can get it done ... I take my hat off to them."

Gallen also believed the NRL "bubble" plan faced a financial obstacle.

"Who's footing the bill for 20 or more players, plus all the club staff you might need, to go and live in one of these isolated compounds for possibly months on end?" he said.

"The NRL's got no money by this stage."

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys and NRL boss Todd Greenberg will put their proposal to the commission on a potential start date and revised competition on April 21.

Australian Associated Press