WELCOME BACK: Fans at the round 5 clash between Manly and the Broncos were restricted to corporate boxes.
WELCOME BACK: Fans at the round 5 clash between Manly and the Broncos were restricted to corporate boxes.

OPINION: Spectators a welcome sight at footy grounds

LAST weekend, devoted football fans were allowed back into stadiums - the first opportunity to watch live sport since coronavirus restrictions stopped play in round 2.

In the NRL, up to 200 people were allowed into the stadiums for the round 6 matches across Australia's east coast.

I mean, we aren't talking 200 people crammed into front-row seats, lapping up the atmosphere and intensity of the game.

No, we're talking 200 people 'socially distant' in corporate boxes around the field.

It seems almost obsolete to allow those people in; the height of many corporate boxes (including those at Suncorp Stadium) make you feel removed from the game.

And maybe that is just the experience that I've had but there is something about sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other passionate fans, trash talking opposition players from the grandstand.

It wasn't just the NRL where fans were welcome. In the AFL, 2000 devoted Port Adelaide fans witnessed their teams 75-point demolishing of cross-town rivals Adelaide Crows.

Each week, there seems to be some new revelation and step forward to the times we once knew.

I feel somewhat in awe of ARLC chairman Peter V'landys who made a pledge to fans that they would be back in the stadiums by July 1 - and what do you know.

The continued relaxation of the 'regulations' at the highest-level raises questions as to why there has been no consideration given to community sport.

As it stands, the commencement of many team sports on July 11 (ish) will be without spectators.

The 100-person limit is all but filled by players, team officials and match organisers.

What perplexes me though is, we can go to the shops or to work, where there are no limitations; no one stopping you from entering a store or doing something you've done routinely for years.

I can reason with the need for these rules but part of me is itching to jump straight back into normality.

Time will tell how long the current rules at the local level will last and whether the relaxation of rules at the highest-level will filter through to what we all know and love.

 

Emily Clooney sports reporter WDN
Emily Clooney sports reporter WDN


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