The Cumberland Throw

Instant Reaction – COVID-19 NRL Response

Today’s NRL press conference saw Peter V’landys and Todd Greenberg confirm that plans to play Round 2 of the NRL Premiership behind closed doors will proceed. However, the enormity of the crisis and the necessity to be fluid in responding to expert guidance hinted that the code could merely be treading water in a rapidly rushing tide.

So why continue to soldier on in the face of overwhelming odds?

The reason is simple and neither of the two backed away in responding.

The professional sport of rugby league faces an economic crisis on an unprecedented scale. A lengthy suspension of the season, a postponement or indeed an abandonment of the Premiership would be financially catastrophic.

We are probably correct in questioning how our code finds itself in such a precarious funding position. However, now is not the time for such reflection or finger pointing. The reality is harsh – the money does not exist and the NRL will not be able to weather an extended storm without government assistance. 

Without question, a prolonged suspension of the season will have effects which extend far beyond the game itself.

V’landys and Greenberg referenced the value of sport in the social fabric of our country and they touched on the flow-on impact to those whose businesses are linked to every rugby league season.

Stadium contracts are already under pressure, and this extends to the incomes of caterers, security and match day staff. The flow-on reaches businesses, small and large.

Broadcasters without sports products to offer will be impacted as subscribers potentially drop away. Our game is funded by broadcast rights. Such matters cannot be ignored.

And on that point of revenue streams, besides broadcasting, sponsorships, match day and merchandise all being impacted, there are also the clubs who are funded by more traditional means. Clubs supported by licensed clubs are going to face enormous challenges. Trading in licensed venues will face downturns if not complete restrictions.

So, what about us? The punters, the loyal supporters and members who are also vital to the NRL – what can we do?

There will be those far more qualified than I am who will have some answers, but for now the advice is surely the same as that given to the entire population.

Stay calm.

To that I suggest that we remain strong as members. Don’t demand refunds on your membership. If the season is suspended, clubs will look at ways of ensuring that the value of your membership is delivered – whether it be this year or by extended benefits in following seasons.

If you are not financially impacted by this pandemic and can afford to maintain your subscriptions, don’t cancel them. The game requires such partners.

Furthermore, with financial aid and the support of the punters, there are provisions in the NRL contracts for extended or abbreviated seasons or mid week games. If we can play our part in staying strong, there will be solutions.

Obviously our country and all of its citizens are facing problems far greater than saving professional sport. Individually, there will be those dealing with the consequence of serious illness. There will be those whose livelihood may not recover. Being responsible in our actions and our words and helping where we can will undoubtedly go a long way towards limiting the strain placed on our communities.

However, for those whose lives and livelihood are intertwined with the football codes that we love, I’d hope that we consider how remaining calm and supportive will help.

Eels and NRL forever!

 

Craig Hawkins (Sixties)

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Fletch
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Fletch

On the back of W Bennett’s suggestion that all squads be isolated up north and all play at a given venue each week, it was reported today that a certain resort has offered its facilities to the NRL to accommodate all the teams. If this proved viable then I’d suggest pausing the comp for two weeks to give the recommended 14 day isolation period for players and associated staff, ensuring no virus amongst them. Then commence an isolated comp as suggested by Wayne. This is, of course, if players and staff would be willing. I don’t say this from a… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

As one of the older generation and said to be in the bracket where both my wife and I can be more at risk, RL and the eels are still important to me, and likewise one can imagine every RL supporter in the country would be the same along with those who will be impacted with any shutdown and non stadium attendance/viewing, I am not sure if this shutdown in total is necessary. I watched how China used desperate measures once the virus was identified and it spread, reports say it was known there in early December rather than January… Read more »

Milo
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Milo

Great comment Sixties and i agree, and yes i am happy to leave my memberships as is, but i also feel for the battlers (its Rugby League i guess) too. I would be ok for the comp to have a break for 2 – 4 wks and re-assess as i am not sure about having all clubs / officials etc in the one place but i also get the reasoning. As mentioned throughout summer we are in unprecedented times, and the NRL would be taking the best advice i assume. By the way is anyone else also sleeping 1.5 m… Read more »

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Milo, I accidented on to the Sky news tonight I think it was around 7.30 and it had a very very interesting and information half hour section that was dedicated to the Corona virus. I don’t recollect them giving a difinative start date of the virus but they suggest December as the time and the Chinese doctor who died after contracting it also was the one who discovered it, but when he tried to inform the government, he was short circuited and was told to stay quiet about it. What seems to be the source of the virus is the… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

That market was meant to be closed down after the SARS virus erupted.. The failure to enforce that directive has cost the world dearly

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

John I doubt it would have stayed open for long as the BJ government ordered its closure, and Wuhan still has new virus cases, but according to the news a short while ago there were only 5 new cases there. The BJ government also put a ban on the exotic animals for human consumption, problem is likely the local stall holders would be trying to keep the trade going, one thing for sure if the BJ central government issues a directive people would be fools to ignore it, but as I said in reply earlier there is a big under… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

My sentiments are based around my experience yesterday. We went to our local supermarket to get milk and saw an elderly couple in tears. They could not get any rice, pasta, pasta sauce, toilet paper, tissues, canned tomatoes. They only shop once a month as they are on the pension. They walked to the shop ( they don’t drive anymore) as they were worried that if they waited until mid week there would be nothing left. We spoke to them and got them some lunch at the take away. We then dropped them home but first went to our house… Read more »

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Thanks for having the courage to share your act of kindness to the elderly couple, it brought back memories of the acts of kindness that my parents and grandparents would share around the dinner table when recalling “the great depression” and the second world war. My Nan and Pop had a general store on Elizabeth St. Strawberry Hills (near Surrey Hills) and a few acres in Matraville where they bred ducks and chickens, (my father built the incubator for the chicks from a book, he was a tailor and had a shop in the city) they also had a large… Read more »

Trapped in the 1970's
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Trapped in the 1970's

Bless you Shelley, that was a lovely act of kindness and I’m sure one that comes so naturally to you.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley, thank you for this post but, more so for you goodness and kindness, there is not many so it seems in this day & age. Its very sad to see the attitudes of people these days, especially when they cry out saying they are doing it tough yet race in with the family and fill several carts with food and necessities, and how often to they go in? My wife and I go once a week mainly for perishables such as milk and fruit, usually wait for the toilet paper until there’s around a week’s supply left before buying… Read more »

paul taylor
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paul taylor

This is a very tough time. What worries me is that for this to work successfully you have to rely on people being ‘ compliant ‘ doing the right things based on the advice they have been given by medical officials. Historically, compliance is a very difficult thing to maintain. It is based on ones view, interpretation, experience and I suppose ones own ability to be measured. You self isolate for 14 days but people will still leave the house, still go to the local shop, still interact with others albeit on a lesser degree. You then have to rely… Read more »

BDon
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BDon

We ducked up to local Woolies(small village 5000 population) this morning to check on the access rules on behalf of our elderly neighbour. We don’t think she’d cope with lining up, rushing through the aisles etc. We found out that we actually qualify ourselves(moment of reflection), so we’re going up to line up for her and dash like Maika Sivo to the paper products. The store manager said that she is surprised by the antics of some people.so I won’t hit anyone with a Maika fend. I’m trying to psyche myself for no NRL, no Eels, for the first time… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

Wollies announced today that they they are opening from 7am to 8am from tomorrow until Friday specifically for pensioners. Pension cards will be required to gain entry.

I understand Coles are going to follow suit. Woollies also said that at some stage they will be closing early to restock the shelves

A coffee acquaintance who works at Woolies warehouse at Warnervale told me they have stacks of toilet paper and have put on casuals to load the trucks.

The big problem is finding room on the trucks. They can’t ignore the other stock

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Closing the stores early for restocking is an excellent idea. Here at Greenhills shopping centre the only day there are many people at the supermarkets is Thursday nights but after 8pm there are not many there at all, more shelf stockers than customers.

There has been around 6 shops in the centre close in the past few weeks, and all before this corona problem.