Martin Devlin: Watching the NRL with no crowd is bizarre

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 Mar 2020, 1:50PM

Martin Devlin: Watching the NRL with no crowd is bizarre

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 Mar 2020, 1:50PM

Well that was weird wasn't it?

The first game of live sport last night on TV for what's seemed like ages was just bizarre in almost every aspect.

I say "almost" because the Bulldogs and Cowboy players did their utmost to make it as normal as possible but the truth was it was anything but.

Thursday night league has kick-started the antipodean sporting weekend for years now, a nice little taster before the full round of Fri/Sat/Sun matches all play out.

Only this time, obviously, there was a fair bit more attached to the fixture given that it's the first of its kind under the new behind closed doors rules.

All eyes then on ANZ stadium for curiosity sakes as much as anything else as many of us wondered about the feasibility of the NRL's plan to carry on regardless and try and do what every other sporting comp wishes they could but have decided they can't. 

As far as the actual game went it was 80mins of hard-out league, as you'd expect. It's not the first time recently we've watched, or tried to, a game of sport without any spectators - and if current predictions are anything to go by, it's certainly going to be the norm until further notice.

Or at least until whoever it is that does figures out exactly how long that piece of string is.

There was no crowd, no noise and from the Dogs players, no tackling. North Queensland with Jason Taumalolo rampant dominated every aspect and throughly deserved the 2 points.

I was even thinking afterwards that on that evidence they look like a top eight side - but what, right now, does that actually mean? 

Will this comp continue to be played out under these same circumstances?

Will it see out its full 24 rounds followed by the regulation four week finals series? Is it even possible to complete a whole season of games played without a single paying fan present? 

Last night was meant to be business as usual. Only every single aspect of it seemed seriously abnormal and bizarrely unusual.