Reports in Australia suggest that the NRL season may not resume until as late as September, placing this autumn’s scheduled Ashes series in serious turmoil.

The NRL suspended the competition this week after previously playing games behind closed doors, as part of the nation’s efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

Organisers are already working towards operating a reduced schedule to conclude the 2020 campaign, though there is also a threat of the season being abandoned.

The discussions include the possibility of a ‘two conference’ system and the staging of the Grand Final as late as December.

Article continues below the advert’s Dan Walsh reports: “A variety of return-to-play scenarios were put to the delegation, with the earliest possible kick-off date slated for June 1, amounting to a nine-week hiatus.

“In a best-case scenario, the NRL would return in some form from that date, though government advice will dictate when it is safe to do so.

“Alternative competition start dates for July, August and September have also been outlined, with numerous formats still being considered.

“A September 1 kick-off would result in a condensed 15-game campaign in which each team plays each other once, before a Grand Final held deep in December.”

The RFL announced the return of the Ashes series last year and new England coach Shaun Wane recently named a list of players in his thoughts for selection.