The controversial canned crowd noise being played during the first round back for the NRL is reportedly helping Melburnians to know when to cheer during matches. Starved of professional sport during the COVID-19 lockdown, Melburnians have been somewhat forced to feign interest in rugby league this weekend, tapping into their usually latent enthusiasm that’s reserved for just three nights a year during the State of Origin series.

Speaking to The Watsonia Bugle last night, self-diagnosed “sports nut” Darren Kale said, “Yeah mate, it’s actually been quite handy. I mean, I know a good touchdown run when I see one, but apart from that I don’t understand many of the rules. So a bit of crowd participation helps to keep me involved in the action.”

Oddly, Kale likened the experience to watching 1990s sitcoms. He said, “It’s like an episode of Friends. Without that canned laughter, I have no idea when they were trying to be funny. And the rubgy is a bit the same. When the crowd starts yelling and screaming, I know something’s up.”

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