The NRL expects to welcome back capacity crowds in NSW and Queensland by mid-March.

The NRL expects to welcome back capacity crowds in NSW and Queensland by mid-March, marking the first time grounds will be able to sell-out since round one last year.

That was the call from chief executive Andrew Abdo who welcomed the footy to come at today’s NRL 2021 season launch – a toned-down daytime event held at Sydney’s White Bay Cruise Terminal.

It was also a chance for the NRL to launch their theme for the season – ‘defy impossible’ – with all 16 NRL club captains attending in the flesh in a bold stance for the game.

While it was a far more modest event than many have come to know, officials were buoyed by the impending return of crowds, a faster game and no biosecurity bubble.

All 16 NRL captains were out in force at the 2021 season launch. (Getty)

“At this point everyone is doing such a good job,” Abdo said.

“We’re going to have fans back in stadiums, all our favourite events back – Anzac Round, Magic Round and Easter – so there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Abdo also reflected on the harsh lessons from the global pandemic, and assured the game was ready to stay one step ahead.

“We’re going to be vigilant and we’re planning for the worst. We’ll be ready for any scenario,” Abdo told AAP.

“We’re not taking this for granted, we’re going to monitor the situation. We saw in the Australian Open how quickly things can change, so if there’s an outbreak we’ll be ready to kick in with our protocols.”

NRL

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