Suncorp empty but sports fans won't care

The Wally Lewis statue had a mask on as the NRL restarted at a deserted Suncorp Stadium.
The Wally Lewis statue had a mask on as the NRL restarted at a deserted Suncorp Stadium.

It may have been the centre of Australia's sporting universe on Thursday but you wouldn't have known the NRL was about to kick off outside Suncorp Stadium.

Caxton Street, the pre-game lubrication site for so many fans, was a wasteland apart from two tables of dinners quietly enjoying a bite to eat.

Outside the stadium itself there was little to show the NRL's COVID-19 hiatus was set to end with Brisbane hosting Parramatta in the opening match of round three.

Even the electronic signs on the main roads leading to the venue were proudly boasting "No Event Tonight", giving the limited media and other staff working at the ground a rare chance to park their car right outside the ground.

A lone Eels fan was cheering his support from the locked gates in front of the famous Wally Lewis statue, the only indication of an impending rugby league match amid a few scattered people exercising or making their way home from work.

On another side of a stadium two men, clad in South Queensland Crushers jerseys, had set up two camp chairs against a wall.

Their chairs however were turned away from the stadium, allowing them to watch the match on a big screen in the Newstead Tavern across the road.

The broad grins both men were sporting were a fair reflection of the overall excitement for sports fans.

In the coronavirus pandemic world, it was never going to be exactly how it was but as far as anyone is concerned, sport is back and it's a great feeling, even if no-one is at the stadium to see it.

Australian Associated Press