The news on the bus
At approximately 1:40pm AWST on Sunday afternoon, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced that the season was to be postponed.
At this point, the Melbourne players were on the bus, heading to Optus Stadium to get their 2020 season underway.
It was the toughest of news to take just hours from Round 1, making for an eerie afternoon at the footy.
Five new faces
The Demons had to block out the news they had just received and focus on the task at hand.
This was a made a little easier by the excitement in the rooms, with five new faces preparing to pull on the red and blue.
Toby Bedford and Kysaiah Pickett received their guernseys from Neville Jetta ahead of their AFL debuts, while Mitch Brown, Ed Langdon and Adam Tomlinson also ran out for the club for the first time.
Melbourne lost its opening game of the season by 27 points – the same margin it trailed by at quarter-time.
At the end of the day, West Coast was the better side, but it was some missed opportunities early that decided the game.
The Dees butchered their chances in front of goal kicking four points in the opening term, before gifting their opposition some easy scores at the other end.
From that point on, Melbourne held its own against one of the premier sides in the competition, dominating the contested ball and having 10 more inside 50’s for the game.
Unfortunately, the Dees let the four points slip in one poor term, but Simon Goodwin remained positive about where the group is at after the game.
Pickett hits the scoreboard
Melbourne fans can walk away from Round 1 with one thing – a taste of the ‘Kozzy magic’.
Pickett had 11 touches on debut and slotted two second half goals to the delight of his family in the stands.
The 18-year-old showed a glimpse of the class he possesses and proved why he was worth a first-round selection at last year’s draft.
All heart from Jack
It was a tough off-season for Jack Viney who was stood aside as captain, but he responded in the best way he knows how.
In a shortened game of Australian Rules football, Viney amassed 34 disposals, six tackles and a goal.
It was a spirited effort from the club’s vice-captain who led by example while up against a star-studded Eagles midfield.
He was well supported by Langdon (31 disposals) who ran tirelessly up and down the wing, while Jay Lockhart was another who can hold his head up high after a strong performance in defence.
An empty arena
Words can’t give justice to the feeling of an AFL game in an empty stadium.
No fans, no cheers, no atmosphere.
The theme songs were played at the lowest of decibels and at times, the only noise heard was that of the umpire’s whistle.
The uncertainty remains
At this stage, all we know is that Round 2 won’t be played next weekend.
There is so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and for now, the AFL will be taking a backseat.
For the players, coaches and staff, this means a break will be had, with no games to be played until at least the 31st of May.