What will the NRL look like when we come out the other side?
It's a question no-one in rugby league is game to even contemplate right now with everyone so focused on the present and desperately trying to keep the coronavirus at bay and eight games on our television screens each weekend.
It's a sad state of affairs that playing those eight games each week is so crucial to the future of not just the NRL but the code itself.
Every level of rugby league in this country, from the Under 6's to every senior competition, relies on funding generated by those eight games each weekend to operate and survive. All that is now at risk.
Mismanagement and greed has played a big part but it's a little late to be looking for reasons why and how billions of dollars in television rights money was frittered away without a prudent approach to building up adequate reserves for a rainy day or in this case a tsunami.
So how will things look when the virus threat is all over?
Those who have been advocating for years for a more streamlined NRL competition with less teams are likely to get their way because it's hard to see how the less financial clubs, which thankfully no longer includes the Knights, survive this.
What price a 12 or 14-team competition in 2021 with a reduced salary cap, playing each other home and away and run by a far leaner NRL management team.
Talks on hold
With the uncertainty swirling around about what the game will look like and how high the salary cap will be going forward, just how big of an impact will it have on a decision on the long-term future of Kalyn Ponga at the Knights.
The cap is supposed to rise to $9.9 million per club next season and coaches and recruitment bosses would have been working to that figure. But it's hard to believe it will be that high now.
Not surprisingly, given the dire financial outlook for the game, player negotiations have largely been put on ice right throughout the NRL.
Even if an agreement is reached with Ponga at some stage, don't be surprised if we don't hear about it when there is so much economic hardship expected over the next six months.
Just in time
Former coach and captain Michael Hagan tells a great story about the last time the Newcastle Knights opted to travel to Leichhardt Oval on game day for a clash with the then Balmain Tigers.
It was way back in 1989, Hagan's first year at the club, under inaugural coach Allan McMahon when same-day travel to Sydney was the norm rather than the exception for a club that operated on the smell of an oily rag.
The match itself is remembered for its spite. The Tigers, under Warren Ryan, won the game 18-16 and the penalty count 16-7 including 8-1 in the second half with referee Bill Harrigan sin-binning three Knights players - Tony Butterfield, Glenn Frendo and James Goulding - and sending off prop Peter Johnston for an alleged eye-gouge. But he took no action against Tigers halfback Gary Freeman after he was accused of eye-gouging Mark Sargent.
Johnston was later exonerated by the judiciary after Harrigan's evidence was rejected following a cross-examination grilling from then Knights chairman and prominent barrister Max Fox. [It was one of many first class judiciary performances from Fox]. Freeman was later cited and was rubbed out for 12 weeks.
But what was lost after the match due to the controversy and all the on-field drama was the Knights disastrous preparation for the game. Hagan, who played that day, takes up the story.
"We are on the bus with Macca going to Leichhardt and the bus driver got lost driving through Sydney," Hagan told us. "There were no sat navs back in those days and we didn't have a clue where he'd taken us.
"We finally lobbed at the ground but I reckon we only had about half an hour to get ready before kick-off. We got caned in the penalties and only lost by a couple of points to a star-studded Tigers side."
The Knights will be hoping that bus driver has long since retired.
Rotation raises eye-brows
It was initially glossed over in the euphoria of their 20-0 shutout of the Warriors last weekend but it didn't go unnoticed by fans on social media in the aftermath.
The biggest question most wanted answered after the win was why starting forwards Daniel Saifiti and Herman Ese'ese, two of the side's best players in the opening 20 minutes, ended up playing so few minutes against the Warriors.
Saifiti played just 34 minutes and Ese'ese 25. Some thought one or both may have failed a HIA or were injured. Others asked if coach Adam O'Brien had mucked up the interchange and forgot to put them back on in the second half.
We're not sure of the official reason but it was likely connected to both Jacob Saifiti and Tim Glasby passing HIA's and having to return to the field so as not to burn free interchanges.
For the record, the work load was spread right across the forward pack against the Warriors with the minutes fairly evenly shared.
Jayden Brailey and Lachlan Fitzgibbon played the full 80, Mitch Barnett [72 on the right edge and in the middle], David Klemmer , Connor Watson , Jacob Saifiti , Glasby  and Aidan Guerra . It will be interesting to see how O'Brien plays it with his forwards rotation at Leichhardt Oval against the Wests Tigers tomorrow.
Short and sweet: Knights prop Daniel Saifiti only played 34 minutes in the win over the Warriors.
Adam O'Brien's wife Sharyn came up with a nice surprise for the Knights coach last weekend.
Without his knowledge, Sharyn quietly arranged for O'Brien's mother and three of his closest mates from Batemans Bay to travel to Newcastle so they could be at McDonald Jones Stadium for his NRL coaching debut against the Warriors.
It made the Knights' 20-0 shutout that little bit more special.
Serves 'em right
Central Newcastle coach Phil Williams has little sympathy for local league clubs who have already paid out sign-on fees to their players for this season with the competition delayed to at least May 31 with the potential to be scrapped altogether due to the coronavirus.
"If they are stupid enough to have done that than it's bad luck," Williams told us.