Programming note: the Impact of Covid-19


At some point in the near future the National Rugby League will suspend its season. As soon as a player tests positive, an outcome that increases in likelihood every day, it will render the competition unplayable, as isolation protocols will require a whole team or teams drop out of the competition.

This isn’t the biggest problem that Covid-19 will cause. There are real and severe problems coming our way; and I hope we as a nation are prepared for them. If you’re anything like me you’re worried, anxious and any other synonym for scared I can find without having to admit for the first time I can remember I am scared for people I know, people I don’t and everyone in between.

Beyond the actual problems caused by this virus, there is going to be an impact on the NRL and the Raiders that we can talk about as we wait for the game to come back. Jack Murchie may finally go to the Warriors as part of the ‘loan a player’ plan. Any break reduces the impact of John Bateman’s injury, and increases the likelihood of Jordan Rapana returning (provided there’s a competition to return to). It also reduces the Raiders’ ability to build the combinations and familiarity of its inexperienced right side. God – or perhaps the NSW legal system – knows what it will mean for Curtis Scott. But then it may not matter so much if the season never comes back.

More than just the season, whether Covid-19 submarines the NRL seems to be a real consideration. I am sympathetic to the NRL leadership wanting to get in as many games as possible. There’s a lot of people’s livelihoods riding on the competition existing, and every round they can get in before a player tests positive will be a slightly smaller hole the competition will be in. The NRL appear to be considering every option that will keep games going, including how a league with less than 16 teams may occur. Peter V’Landys is seeking government support and may get it, but one can understand if tax-payer money finds its way to hospitals and to support less fortunate victims of the economic crisis that may follow a mass outbreak.

But then these issues might not matter. Shit do they even matter now? This virus is a real problem and the only way we can get through this is by the whole country doing its part. The right thing to do will sometimes be to stay away, be it from the pub, the park or work. Follow social distancing instructions. Work from home where we can. Please give a shit about those more vulnerable.

At times like this we often are looking to how we help. My recommendation is to be community minded. We are always stronger together than we are alone, so I encourage everyone to look after the people of our community that need it. Everyone will be impacted in some way, from those in the highest risk categories, to those whose livelihoods are impacted by the economic hardship quarantine and fear can create. Please give a shit about your fellow human, because we are only as strong as the most vulnerable in our community. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to remember that, but if there is a silver lining from this it could be that.

There will be plenty of time to talk about all the non-serious things as we ride the wave of a shut down. And we’ll be doing that in these pages. When there’s so much sadness and frustration in the news, we’ll try to provide a brief crack of daylight into your day when we can (provided we stay healthy).

In the meantime wash your hands, look after each other and stay strong. Go Raiders.

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