With fans unable to attend games due to the coronavirus crisis, the NRL has given punters the chance to still get their face on TV.
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The NRL’s ‘Fan In The Stands’ promotion allows people to send in their photo and have it placed on a cardboard cutout in the crowd at games.
For $22, fans can have their face (or the face of a loved one or pet) pop up in the stands.
Social media users have praised the NRL for the creative idea, however it took a dark turn on Sunday.
Fans watching the Panthers and Knights at home noticed the face of a notorious serial killer on one of the cardboard cut-outs.
Users on Reddit pointed out that Harold Fredrick Shipman’s face was in the stands - an English doctor believed to be the worst serial killer in history.
Shipman took his own life after being sentenced to life in prison in 2004.
He was found guilty of the murder of 15 patients in 2000, but it is believed he had more than 250 victims.
Fans were less than impressed that the image of the serial killer found its way into the stands and on TV screens.
In Australia the NRL has resumed with no crowds, so people can pay for a cardboard cutout of themselves to be placed in the crowd and show up on TV.— Jed (@JedRose17) May 31, 2020
Someone did this today with the face of Harold Shipman, the most prolific serial killer in modern history pic.twitter.com/CErpxForP6
Watching the Penrith / Newcastle NRL game (absolute cracker btw). Who put Harold Shipman in the crown?😂😂 pic.twitter.com/mZ78UdCCIL— Christie W (@FFSChristie) May 31, 2020
NRL fans love Dominick Cummings prank
Among other interesting faces in the stands over the weekend was a dog and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top advisor Dominic Cummings.
Cummings is fighting for his career after travelling from his London home to Durham and back during the coronavirus lockdown.
Unlike the Harold Shipman gaffe, fans loved the Dominic Cummings prank.
NRL launches ‘fan in the stand’ initiative where supporters pay $22 to ‘take their seat’ during games behind closed doors.— Gary Carter (@GaryCarter_1979) May 29, 2020
👀 Good to see Dominic Cummings testing his eye sight in Parramatta... pic.twitter.com/cQJghzTWUk
Spotted: Dominic Cummings at the Roosters v Rabbitohs game in the NRL in Sydney.— GoalScorer Challenge (@GoalscorerC) May 29, 2020
This is great banter, it really is. pic.twitter.com/OCV5gqNVxQ
I see the NRL in Australia have a sense of humour pic.twitter.com/lQJlgdH0qC— Ridgesilk (@ridgesilk) May 29, 2020
NRL head of marketing Peter Jarmain previously explained the thinking behind the promotion.
“We wanted to make sure the lifeblood of the NRL, our members and fans, had the chance to pull on their jerseys, don their club colours and support in a really fun way,” he told NRL.com.
“I know the players and clubs will appreciate the support, even if the fans aren’t able to shout, celebrate and jump around for the tries and hits as they usually would.”
Time will tell if the promotion continues in round four.