THE "catastrophic" outcome that Peter V'Landys feared most is now a reality after the NRL agreed on Monday to suspend its season, effective immediately, because of the coronavirus crisis.
NRL chairman V'Landys and CEO Todd Greenberg announced at a media conference that they had fallen into line with Australia's other sporting codes, having defiantly insisted for two weeks that rugby league would play on until doing so was no longer a viable option.
Once the AFL opted to shut down on Sunday, after Australia's states started to close their borders, it appeared only a matter of time before rugby league was put on hold, too.
The A-League is expected to follow suit at a media conference on Tuesday morning, which means that Monday night's game between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium is likely to be Australia's last professional sporting fixture for the forseeable future.
Unlike the AFL, which says it hopes to be in a position to re-start after May 31, the NRL is in limbo indefinitely and appears intent on considering any alternative that will allow play to resume as soon as possible.
"We are going to look at every available option to us in the next week or so as to how we can recommence the season," V'landys said.
"Be it in other areas or northern Queensland, all the options are still on the table.
"We've left it open and will probably make some announcements in the future."
The news could hardly come at a worse time for the Newcastle Knights, who are unbeaten in their first two games of 2020 and sit second on the points table.
Their bright start under new coach Adam O'Brien has now been challenged on a host of fronts.
Players across the 16 clubs have been told not to attend training on Tuesday and it appears they will have to maintain fitness on an individual basis, given the guidelines around "social distancing".
Players and staff will also have to deal with the financial ramifications, which began yesterday when the NRL started ordering administration personnel to take annual leave.
Players will inevitably be forced to accept pay cuts, given the revenue shortfall caused by a lack of crowds and also the likelihood that broadcasters will refuse to honour their massive deals.
"It's catastrophic," V'landys said.
"I don't think we have ever come across a financial crisis like this. We are all affected.
"This is a financial crisis. You can't understate it. It's probably the biggest financial challenge the game has faced in its history."
V'Landys was confident the NRL would ride out the storm, although it remains to be seen how long some clubs will be able to stay afloat.
"Rugby league will survive in some way," he said.
"I can't guarantee it will be in the same way it is at the moment.
"No one knows. No one knows how long this pandemic is going to last
"We're ready for the worst and we are going to look at dealing with the worst. That's exactly what we will do in the next couple of weeks."
The Herald tried to contact Newcastle chief executive Phil Gardner for a response to Monday's developments but received no reply.
But last week Gardner was confident the Knights, now owned by the affluent Wests Group, would cope better than most NRL franchises.
"Right now, we are probably the best people to have it ... we think we are in as good a position as anybody else but it will be challenging for everybody," Gardner said last Wednesday.