It’s Thursday the 12th March 2020. The sun is setting over the western grandstand of Bankwest Stadium as the Parramatta Eels prepare to open the season and face their traditional rivals the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.
Sitting in the crowd in the Ken Thornett Grandstand is Eels CEO Jim Sarantinos who was appointed to the position in November 2019 after spending three years as an administrator and Chief Operations Officer.
The clouds gather
Parramatta have been looking forward to a near-sell out crowd to begin 2020, further building on their 2019 season that saw the opening of Bankwest and an end of season demolition of the Brisbane Broncos in front of record crowds.
However, brewing in the background is COVID-19 which has reached Australian shores and whispers have begun circling of the NRL season being impacted.