The the first match of the 2020 AFL season got underway behind closed doors, eagle-eyed fans noticed one abnormality - the continued presence of security guards on the ground.
No fans were permitted to enter the MCG for Thursday night’s season opener between Richmond and Carlton, due to the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
‘I’M SUFFERING’: AFL fans lose it over 'strange' MCG spectacle
With no fans in the stands, one would assume the risk of a pitch invasion had been greatly reduced - evidently not so according to the MCG, who had security guards stationed at their usual points around the ground.
Police officers were even spotted by one hawk-eyed footy fan, leading many on social media to take the mickey out of the entire spectacle.
Big Bash League cricketer Tim Ludeman led the charge on Twitter.
“Two things.... Firstly, why are security at the MCG tonight, and secondly why are they still sitting on those crappy little seats round the fence like 80 thousand are there!” he wrote on Twitter.
“Stand up or pull up a pew in the stands.”
Others were equally bemused, however some pointed out that keeping security employed was a prescient move, with fears of a severe economic downturn coupling with the pandemic.
One can only assume that the security guards stationed around the boundary are there to stop the Coronavirus running onto the ground.#AFLTigersBlues— maddie (@_maddie_) March 19, 2020
Some other fans pointed out the security guards would likely have been required to retrieve the balls which had been punted into the vacant stands.
The absence of fans didn’t stop Richmond from claiming victory in the first match of the season, recording a 24-point win over Carlton.
Doctor blasts AFL players over 'disgraceful' act amid crisis
A leading doctor has blasted AFL players for sharing water bottles amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The AFL were already under fire for going ahead with the start of their season on Thursday night amid the crisis, with many believing it’s a bad look when the rest of society is under strict measures to stop the spread of the virus.
So it was particularly grating when Richmond and Carlton players were seen shaking hands and sharing water bottles during the game at the MCG - two massive no-no’s amid the crisis.
The players squirted the water into their mouths rather than put their lips on the bottle.
But Dr Peter Larkins still couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Can someone please educate afl players on the safe use of water bottles- disgraceful example to community & kids! #poorhygieneexample— Dr Peter Larkins (@doclarkins) March 19, 2020
“Can someone please educate afl players on the safe use of water bottles,” the leading sports physician and media personality wrote on Twitter.
“Disgraceful example to community & kids! #poorhygieneexample.”