I don’t need to remind anyone what crazy, uncertain times we face at the moment.
At least we still have our footy.
With most other sports cancelled, the NRL is continuing. It may be inside locked stadiums (though a few enterprising fans found a way to watch the Sydney Roosters v Manly-Warringah game at Leichhardt Oval yesterday), but it’s still footy.
The novelty value of hearing the players, referees and the sound effects from the big hits (plus a few naughty words from players here and there) may intrigue neutrals, but there’s still been some decent footy: Friday’s double-header (Penrith v St George-Illawarra; Brisbane v South Sydney) had two ebb-and-flow games with Penrith and Brisbane both winning by four points. The aforementioned Roosters-Sea Eagles game finished 9-8 with a late Daly Cherry-Evans field goal to win it.
As far as we know, the NRL is pushing to get through the season as normal. On the Six Tackles with Gus podcast last week, Phil Gould painted a dire picture if the premiership was forced to suspend. Unlike the AFL, which Gus said had a ‘war chest’ for a rainy day, the NRLs financial situation is precarious. That – and the pressure from Nine and Fox League to deliver content – is probably behind the NRLs insistence to keep going.
A big part of continuing footy has been the New Zealand Warriors. The club has opted to stay in Australia for the time being. It’s an incredible sacrifice for the good of the game. Despite being everyone’s new second favourite team, the Warriors – no doubt emotionally exhausted by their situation – will probably finish in the bottom four. It’s not a fair reward for their sacrifice.
What will the coming months bring? Who knows.
For now, let’s be grateful there’s still some footy on.