Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'landys is increasingly optimistic about resuming the NRL on June 1.
V'landys on Saturday cited decreasing coronavirus infection rates for the reason he "absolutely" believes round three can be played in June, not July, as a best-case scenario.
"I'm very confident about it actually," V'landys said on 2GB radio.
"We've got the best can-do man in Wayne Pearce setting up this committee and he's looking at all options.
"You only have to look at the infection rate. When we stopped playing the infection rate was just on about 23 per cent. Yesterday it was 3.9 per cent and today it's 4.3 per cent.
"You've got to remember that we're eight weeks away and if these figures continue to be that low, there's less risk now than what there was when we were playing (up until March 22)."
Buoyed by the early impact the government's social gathering provisions were having and by the NSW Health Minister's announcement that the restrictions wouldn't prevent sporting events from resuming, V'landys said the league was also being guided by a virologist and several other health experts.
A June 1 resumption would be a huge win for players who have taken massive pay cuts.
"What the deal was with the players was in a worst-case scenario that they don't play again this year," V'landys said.
"(But) that's not going to happen. They are going to play football and what we've negotiated is what revenues we get when we recommence we share with the players.
"So the players certainly will be getting more, not necessarily what their contractual obligations are because there might be less revenue.
"We've just got to see what revenue we can get and the players will share in that."
If and when the NRL restarts, matches will continue to be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.
"But that's better than not playing at all," V'landys said.
"The majority of our revenue comes from broadcasting so if we can broadcast the matches and have some atmosphere somehow, I think that's probably our best option."
The league's other option, if the situation continues to improve, is to reopen the 2020 season with State of Origin on June 1 and the NRL on July 1.
Either way, V'landys said the competition points already earned would stand and that the season would resume as round three with all teams playing each other once before a finals series.
The latest the grand final would be played would be the week before Christmas.
Australian Associated Press