DEBATE: Will 2020 NRL season be remembered for right reasons?
THIS SEASON WILL BE FOREVER TAINTED
AFTER what feels like months of jumping through hoops, an NRL return is right around the corner.
But as other competitions around the world resume in very unorthodox fashion, it’s got me thinking. Is it going to even come close to resembling what we have been so dearly missing?
The answer to that question is very clearly, no.
I do believe it is better having sport back than having none to watch at all but for most competitions, including the NRL, this will always be taken with a grain of salt.
With no fans, neutral venues and the rest of the side-effects of what will be an incredibly sterilised environment, this won’t be the NRL we all know and love.
Much of the game on the field will be the same but there will be a clear lack of passion and I think that will have a big effect on the players.
While the NRL doesn’t always attract the biggest crowds in the world of sport, even the smallest pocket of fans can create an infectious energy that could spur on even the most fickle of the sides on the park.
It’s going to be interesting to see how teams rev each other up before and during the game. The most mentally strong will be sure to stand out from the rest, but some stars that can be a little more hot and cold could really go missing.
I’m excited to have footy back, but this season will always be tarnished in the books.
ADVERSITY IS WORTHY OF RECOGNITION
THERE’S no doubt the remainder of the NRL season will feel extremely different to years gone by, but to say the competition is tainted or should come with an asterisk is a cop-out to all the players, staff and fans of the game.
I admit, there will be questions that linger over the season due to its stop-start nature in response to a global pandemic, and if we do get a few rounds going before we have to hit the breaks again for whatever reason then maybe it would be best to just pull the plug.
However, if rugby league takes to the field and is unblemished right until the grand final, every player and staff member of every club would have every right to be immensely proud, and to take that away from them by labelling the season as tainted is wrong.
Just think of the sacrifices they’re all making, especially the New Zealand Warriors.
To come to Australia and spend the season away from their families is a huge thing to do, all for the sake of getting some football underway.
The vast majority of rugby league players have been doing the right thing and abiding by all necessary social isolation protocols. Their training and preparations have been vastly disrupted, and to play a season in front of empty stadiums is again a big challenge.
Rather than an asterisk, for the team to come out on top this season is a huge effort and worthy of recognition.