The Cumberland Throw

Instant Reaction – The NRL Shuts Down

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.



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Well said Forty. Here here about game and we hope Reed can heal soon. These are unprecedented times – YES but in my view the game will be back, unlike when Super League et al eventuated and that separated the game for a period of time, whether for good or not, to me that was worse. This is a health virus related issued which began in China (quite ironic considering SL and Ribot taking the game there….). I personally feel for the small businesses and flow on to all and yes also the players etc. As for the season who… Read more »


Currently in foetal position. Here at TCT, we’ve gone from planning for podcasts and expanding our coverage of junior reps and lower grades to being in an extended off season with no return date. We’ll be here, but who knows what the future will bring? I guess we take a leaf from the 2020 Eels book and stay composed.

John Eel

Milo here is the conspiracy. They noticed that the Eels were a real chance for the title this year so Covid19 was created to derail them.

More seriously I hope we can put all the politics aside and get behind the government on this for the well-being of the nation.

Colin Hussey

While holding out in hope the season would continue, the nagging outcome hitting the game, and little doubt all in not just the RL community but the world in general, RL and the suspension of it is having different impacts & in many different ways. There are going to be huge losses as have been suggested with no income from the TV and other screening areas, along with perhaps even sponsors pulling out for the duration of the suspension, on the news there was a figure of $!3m a week being lost as a result for however long the comp… Read more »


That’s an important perspective Col. Stay safe mate.


Agree Col, potential huge issues with clubs / loss of revenue etc. and not to mention the local loss of causal / part time jobs across many walks of life.

What also is concerning is the amount of people each year who have previously died from the flu / pneumonia illness. This is not always heavily publicised but i know it is many from a family view.


Very true Milo. It would be a frightening statistic if revealed every year.

John Eel

Colin I think you are correct. Moving forward the NRL may well be a different beast in the future to what we are used to. Fox and Nine may well use this as a means of renegotiating the broadcast deal as the NRL defaults on its obligations to provide content. The players may be in for a permanent pay cut as the code looks to solidify the balance sheet in the face of shrinking revenue Probably more importantly is for the general population as the government has seen supply issues emanating out of the pursuit of cheap products and free… Read more »


Could not agree more John particularly about the loss of manufacturing, that has been a sad indictment on the country and pls do not start me on foreign ownership…..

Colin Hussey

The aspect of manufacturing crucial items has been part of this countries issues for yonks, especially in the local manufacturing area. It was a big issue for ages with the NSWGR when time to make contracts for many items, O/seas companies got a huge proportion of the contract for building steam locomotives, yet there were large numbers built here, along with most of the Rolling stock both freight and passenger carriages, primary reasons have been and still are the cost of the local product as against the imported ones, in many cases, the time to construct items was much longer… Read more »


At this stage, hope is the key factor. That said, with the shut down, it allows the planning of various contingencies rather than literally flying by the seat of their pants on a daily basis, which is where we were at.


Well said Forty. A couple of random thoughts. I don’t think Max Donnelly has quite exited as yet. These times are Max’s bread and butter, despite what anyone in the gallery thought of him, he is highly experienced and competent. Also, it will be interesting to see how players off contract for 2021 will fare, can’t think that one through, or if it will matter whether a 2021 contract is held. Who knows, other things to sort out first!
Appreciate,in advance, any effort you guys put into continuing TCT under these extreme circumstances.


I’m pretty sure he has exited. Anyway, we press on BDon. There will likely be topics to consider over the coming weeks, even if they aren’t specifically Parra.

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