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NRL fans spot a sinister figure in empty stadiums 

by Faye Newsom (2020-06-11)


Pranksters have hijacked the NRL's fan-in-the-stand initiative with a family dog, Boris Johnson's embattled chief adviser and one of the world's most prolific serial killers all making an appearance at the weekend's fixtures.

Round three action returned to television screens in Australia and across the world after a 10-week hiatus due to the coronavirus lockdown.

But with matches played at empty stadiums, the game's administrators wanted to bring in a few fun ideas to liven-up the broadcast.






Eagle-eyed footy fans spot British serial killer Harold Shipman at the Newcastle Knights v Penrith Panthers game on Sunday


As well as automated crowd noises, hoa tam giác mạch the NRL also launched an initiative where supporters can have a cardboard cutout of themselves in the grandstand.

A portion of the $22 fee also goes to the mental health charity Gotcha4Life.

In Friday night's matchup between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs the camera zoomed in a cardboard cutout of a dog, to the laughter of commentators.






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'My dog was just on national TV. Best $22 I've ever spent,' the dog owner wrote on Twitter.

At the same game, the UK Prime Minister's chief political adviser Dominic Cummings was also spotted.

The besieged archetype of the Brexit campaign has come under fire recently after he breached coronavirus lockdown rules by travelling over 400km to his parents' farm in Durham.






In Friday night's matchup between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs the camera zoomed in a cardboard cutout of a dog, to the laughter of commentators







The UK Prime Minister's chief political advisor Dominic Cummings was also spotted in the stands


While fans mostly appreciated the political jab on social media, it was at the Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights match where things took a more sinister tone.

Eagle-eyed footy fans noticed a cutout of Harold Shipman - also known as Dr Death.

'(I) am absolutely loving the panthers v Knights in sunny England but not sure why serial killer Harold Shipman is in the stands,' a user posted to Twitter.

The English GP was convicted of 15 murders in January 2000, but authorities believe he may have killed up to 250 patients in his care.

He died by his own hand in prison in 2004, aged 57.






The English GP (pictured) was convicted of 15 murders in January 2000, but authorities believe he may have killed up to 250 patients in his care







'(I) am absolutely loving the panthers v Knights in sunny England but not sure why serial killer Harold Shipman is in the stands,' a user posted to Twitter.


'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,' NRL head of marketing Peter Jarmain told NRL.com when the initiative was launched.

'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.'

The NRL is the first sport in Australia to return to competition after the COVID-19 shut down.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing mental health issues contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. 






Nelson Asofa-Solomona of the Storm is tackled during the round three NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on May 30, in Melbourne