Positive articles about rugby league are few and far between, so enjoy this one.
Unfortunately this ‘good news’ article comes because of a worldwide pandemic, with Covid-19 resulting in worldwide lockdowns and the cancellation of sports.
The NRL shutdown was announced on March 24, but while many leagues were declared null and void or took more than three months to return, the NRL was back within nine weeks.
As games returned behind closed doors, Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys pulled out all the stops to get the greatest game back on our screens.
Covid-secure rule changes were made, including a new ‘six again’ rule, the fixture schedule was amended and crowd noise was sounded out in stadiums to make it seem as ‘normal’ as possible.
After lots of hard work behind the scenes, the NRL was back by May 28 and as we settled in to watch our elite athletes face off – it was as if we had never been away!
The biggest praise though has to be reserved for the New Zealand Warriors, as all their players and staff left family behind to take up a permanent base in Tamworth to ensure the season could be finished.
It’s now September and many at the Warriors remain thousands of miles away from their loved ones, having not seen them in-person for months.
These are the kind of sacrifices that go beyond the game and no matter who wins the NRL Premiership this season, we can safely say the Warriors are the team of the season.
The start of July saw socially-distanced crowds filtered back in, with the NRL again the trailblazers while many other sports held back on making big decisions.
It was and still is unprecedented times, ones that few people could have predicted, but there is no question the NRL have stood tall and not shirked the challenges.
It’s certainly a far cry from the sex scandals that proceeded the 2019 season, something that was akin to a real Overwatch parody porn game or even likely to be seen via super porn games on JerkDolls, what happened during that time threw the game into crisis.
The NRL is still attached to a number of ongoing controversies, but their decisions and pro-activeness this season certainly needs to be applauded.
Admittedly the virus has not hit Australia as hard as many other countries, but the challenges were still there and thus far they have been passed with flying colours.
This weekend marks the final regular round and the last game of the season for many NRL sides, then the finals is followed by State of Origin, so we’re not out of the woods yet.
Throughout this pandemic the NRL have been bold and direct with their decisions, so I think we can be fairly confident that the game will get through these next two months and finish an unprecedented 2020 season in style.