14 things Chris Rattue is looking forward to when the footy seasons resume:
1) Players no longer hugging each other when they make mistakes
With the rest of the world social distancing, it's inconceivable that these contrived consolation cuddles continued. They drive me mad because they simply aren't genuine.
2) More of Sam Cane
Is this a watershed moment?
The new All Black captain actually sounded quite human with the potential to be interesting by rugby's normal standards in a radio interview this week.
It's been a lean 15 years on that front. Richie McCaw got through a long and celebrated career without once saying anything interesting - it's just who he was. And I always felt that Kieran Read gave pap answers to keep himself clear of any distractions.
Come to think of it, ave we ever had a really interesting All Black captain? They all said as little as possible.
Cane - in his understated way - offered a bit of hope though. He came across as someone the country will warm to - but only if he can get it right on the field of course.
3) Contemplating what the veterans think of non contact rugby
A former All Black sent an email to me after news broke that England was devising a game without tackles, scrums and mauls for the virus crisis era. He wondered if it was April Fools' Day.
4) Contemplating what the veterans think of Scot Ian McGeechan's non-contact 'Fugby', which combines rugby and football
See three above.
5) One referee in the NRL, as opposed to the standard two
One less ref might lead to a "skinny" 10 metres, which I'm all for.
I'd go one step further than this proposed cost-cutting measure and replace the 10 metre rule with a seven metre rule. This would encourage the development of bigger players and ball players, diluting the current, exhausting free-for-all.
This would also put kickers under more pressure forcing more creative thinking late in the tackle count, instead of the (yawn) perfunctory bomb to the corner.
6) No on-field interviews
They are a complete waste of time in all the footy codes. I'm presuming that interviewers will no longer be allowed to cuddle up - physically and figuratively - to the stars anymore. (hopefully rugby doesn't compensate with even more of those interviews from the coaching boxes. They are absolute shockers)
7) Eden Park
Finally, a solution to Auckland's embarrassment. There's hardly anyone at Eden Park in the best of times. Now we will have a good excuse.
8) How rugby deals with the bubble trouble
Rugby appears to have ramped up its bid for world domination with even more expansive ideas involving extravagant competitions covering the globe. This at a time when air travel is going out of fashion because of the virus spreading potential, not to mention the airline industry is an ecological nightmare. Stay tuned.
9) How the Warriors react, if someone at an Aussie club bungles the health rules
This is only an impression, but it feels as if some of the Warriors really, really don't want to be camped in Australia. They are there under sufferance, and won't suffer any fools gladly.
10) Finding out how referees go without crowd pressure
It will be an interesting test tube.
11) Watching how players react to referees in the sterile stadium environments
It could be less heated, more forgiving.
12) Finding out how players react in the sterile stadium environments
"Boring, boring," is how Chicago White Sox baseballer Tim Anderson viewed it, adding: "We get the energy from our fans. It would suck." But humans are very adaptable.
13) Getting the inside word
In dead quiet stadiums, TV microphones could pick up more of what the players are saying.
14) The English Premier League title race being resolved...
...with Liverpool finally winning an EPL crown they so richly deserve...somehow.