Comparing the return of football to that of rugby league

24 Jun 20, 12:05PM 0 Comments

Written by Callum Walker

Photo by Getty Images

Rugby league will always come first in my life, but I also enjoy watching the round ball game – football. Well, the return of the football season last week certainly got me excited, after all, it had been March since the so-called ‘beautiful game’ had been played throughout the UK.

Having tuned in to watch Aston Villa host Sheffield United and Manchester City do battle against Arsenal, one thing struck me. The lack of a crowd affected the players to a greater extent than it has done in recent weeks in the NRL. It appeared as though commentators were stuck for conversation a lot more than Andrew Voss and his talented team of pundits.

The same was true throughout the weekend of football just gone, particularly Liverpool’s nil-all draw with Everton. What should have been a tasty Merseyside derby turned into a damp squib that seemed nothing more than some sort of training arrangement. Compare that to the Sydney Roosters hard-fought victory over the Parramatta Eels and the two were a world apart, despite the lack of thousands in the stands.

That rugby league is barely affected in terms of entertainment on the field from the lack of a crowd to that of football does make sense. More happens on a rugby league pitch whilst football fans tend to keep the momentum of an atmosphere going for much longer periods. In the absence of the latter, the product on the field suffered.

Add in to the mix the fact that ‘Vossy’ and his array of pundits such as Greg Alexander are all big personalities with a penchant for wit and description and it almost doesn’t matter what happens on the field as there will be plenty of entertainment over the microphone. Again, compare that to the monotone Sky Sports football commentator Alan Smith and there is no contest.

Manchester City vs Arsenal Premier League

Whilst rugby league supporters are key for clubs to return to some kind of financial normality, the past few weeks have demonstrated that the sport can thrive on the field without them, particularly with the inclusion of incredibly lifelike virtual crowd noise.

That does not seem to be the case for football; though it was the first weekend of the round ball game for a few months, the signs were not good. Games were dull, commentaries awful and the virtual crowd noise pathetic.

As the NRL seeks to reintroduce fans for the next round, that will undoubtedly help rugby league Down Under to go one step further, but football in the UK is so far away from being able to do that just yet. And, whilst rugby league conquered the crowdless entertainment on week one, football has a lot to do to somehow make the whole lockdown product of the sport match that of rugby league.

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