Well shit, where do you start with this one? We always knew it was coming. As each and every single professional sporting competition bent the knee to the rampaging threat of COVID-19, the NRL put on a brave front and vowed to press on. Over the course of the two rounds of competition that we got, the NRL deployed rapidly escalating measures to combat the looming shadow of the outbreak but it just wasn’t enough. It never was going to be – and I don’t mean that as an insult to the NRL.
Figuratively, and worryingly perhaps literally, the NRL battled to its last breath to keep the 2020 competition alive but as of this evening the dangers of the pandemic’s spread proved too much for the game’s governing body as it went into full-scale shut down for the short-term future. Peter V’Landys and Todd Greenburg convened an emergency press conference today to confirm that the NRL will suspend its operations until the 1st of May while the premiership itself will remain on hiatus until it is safe to resume operations.
The move is completely understandable, even if it feels like one of the final bastions of normalcy falls to the wayside, as prioritising lives is always going to be the most important course of action. While we can jest about Parramatta finishing the season on top of the ladder, the terrifying possibility is that we may have very well seen the final game of the NRL as we know it given that that the game’s governing body is staring down the barrel of financial oblivion. Rugby league of course will find a way to survive in the bigger picture, but it could be in a very different landscape.
To take an extremely selfish view it hurts doubly so that the premiership is suspended in a year where the Eels looked to be shaping up as legitimate contenders. It feels like a cruel jape of fate that something of this magnitude would drop into the lap of the world in the year that the Eels had finally positioned themselves perfectly for a title push. That really rubs salt in the wound for any long suffering fan, but when the toll of COVID-19 is going to be measured equally in deaths and trillions of dollars across the world you simply have to acknowledge that this is a time when even if we need to maintain safe distances from our fellow men and women, we must all come together and do the right thing.
So on behalf of everyone at TCT, I sincerely hope that everyone is holding on. These are unprecedented times for a world that has forgotten what true hardship looks like. As a child of the 80s, I have never known anything of this ilk and I can only hope that it will bring out the best in more people than it does the worst. The rugby league community, the greater sporting community and our great country need to support each other like never before.
Do your civic duties to minimise the spread of COVID-19. We will all persevere, such is the stubbornness of the flame of humanity. Even if there is a lack of games to discuss, TCT will push ahead and try to deliver new content to all of our amazing fans where possible. Feel free to use our platform to talk about footy and to talk about life. We are all in this together, don’t be ashamed to reach out.
Stay safe, be strong.