Robertson's eerie Lions debut at empty MCG

Oliver Caffrey
Teenager Deven Robertson is unlikely to forget his Brisbane AFL debut at a deserted MCG

Before Brisbane's Deven Robertson stepped out on Sunday night, Marlion Pickett was the last player to make his AFL debut at the MCG.

Pickett did so in front of 100,014 spectators, instantly becoming a Richmond life member as he starred in the Tigers' 2019 grand final victory last September.

On Sunday, Robertson ran onto an eerily quiet empty stadium and the AFL announced mid-game that the season would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brisbane's first pick in last year's draft was a late inclusion to face Hawthorn after a hamstring injury ruled out former Hawks defender Grant Birchall.

Lions coach Chris Fagan said he felt for Robertson, 18, making his debut in such a surreal situation.

To top it all off, the Hawks broke a four-game losing streak against the Lions, winning by 28 points.

"Not the usual fun and excitement, I guess, that you have with a first-rounder," Fagan said.

"I know we did as much as we could as a club (to make it a special occasion for Robertson). His parents were over to witness the jumper presentation today.

"It was all a little bit quieter than it normally would be for a first game, so a little bit disappointing for him.

"But he'll probably never forget his first game and the circumstances surrounding it.

"He knew that if (Birchall) didn't play he'd be in, so I don't think he was sweating on it."

Fagan said the Lions would attempt to deal with the competition shutting down until June in the best way possible.

"I think us older heads are more counsellors to our younger players and (can) use this opportunity to educate them about resilience," he said.

"We're all a bit flat, dumbfounded, numb.

"The harsh reality of the situation the world finds itself in at the moment hit us right between the eyes."