COVID-19 has identified Australia's protected species.
They are the special ones among us who are given special help so they can perform their self-declared special service to the nation.
I'm not referring to any person who keeps the nation fed, watered, sheltered and healthy. I'm talking about those whose input is so magical, so crucial, that most can't put words to how much impact they have.
They are our NRL players and their extended families. This species is incredibly important. Just ask them.
As debate rages about who should be classed as an essential worker, professional football players, their partners and the executives who run the show, seem to have added their names to the list.
I'm pretty sure they didn't have to put their case for inclusion on the exclusive list, prove in any way, shape or form that they were national treasures, or provide a few character references.
But, just when I thought the NRL species was immune to COVID-19 (and a few rules applying to everyone else in the country), they hit a snag in Newcastle.
NRL bosses explained that the Sydney flare-up was too close for comfort, and it was better if the State of Origin dead rubber headed north.
I think it had more to do with the mighty groundswell of opposition from the people of Newcastle and the wider Hunter about bringing a super-spreader event to our diligent region.
No amount of money "injected into the local economy" from this dangerous circus would have been worth it. One case is one too many when the population remains unvaccinated.
Newcastle dodged a bullet.
We know also that we can just watch the game on TV.
But no one has been spared the carry-on from the odd put-out partner of an NRL player who is upset that she and the kids mightn't be able to be included in a special bubble arrangement.
"Families are important to NRL players," whined a partner of some player (I have no idea who) on the TV the other night. Really?
She also explained from her beautifully staged lounge room that football was essential at this time. I think she was suggesting that this fearless force was able to get us over the line, like when Vera Lynn inspired Great Britain during the darkest days of WWII.
However, our chosen ones needed to be supported by their partners and kids during their campaign.
Yeah, nah. Getting hermetically sealed footballers and their families to fixtures is not essential. It's not essential on any level. It's an expensive exercise in indulging this species' sense of entitlement.
If you think it is essential for non-essential NRL players to be joined by their non-essential families for non-essential matches interstate, maybe explain why to those people who have been denied a special exemption to see their dying relatives in hospital.
It's time to blow the whistle on this one-sided game.
We're all tired of screaming from the cheap seats.
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