THE whole world is living under the cloud of Covid – and the sport of rugby league is no different with sacrifices being made across the board to keep the show on the road.

The sport has had to be flexible; rule changes, re-arranged fixtures and games behind closed doors.

Although the supporters have selflessly had to give up their weekly rituals – the players too have sacrificed more than their wage cuts to try and ensure that the weekly fixtures can carry on.

This week Saints coach Kristian Woolf paid tribute to those players – and praised their dedication and professionalism in the way they are having to live their lives.

Woolf said: “Ever since the first cases came out at Hull there was a real reminder to us all that it is around and is capable of coming into our bubble and we do need to be really careful.

“I have to applaud the players, the change in behaviour when we are in our bubble and how we socialise when we are within our groups and the sacrifice our players and staff are making outside the bubble of rugby league is immense and deserves a lot of credit.

“It is a very different world and different landscape than what we are all used to.”

Things that are taken for granted in normal times have gone out of the window, with the players restricted in their everyday social habits.

“I feel for some of the young blokes in particular,” Woolf said.

“You have to make sacrifices to be a professional, but the sacrifices they are making are enormous.

“I do feel for them - it makes it hard for them to enjoy rugby league in a way that we are used to.”

The latest directive for the players is to stop celebrating, in an attempt to minimise unnecessary contact.

Players have been told they could be fined £250 if they celebrate tries by jumping on the scorer or hugging him – but they are allowed to fist pump and pat each other on the back.

Woolf would rather not see the players issued with fines, but accepts that the game is in a tough position.

“It is a passionate game and we want the players to show that passion and togetherness,” he said.

“What we have always preached is a culture good culture of a rugby league team is we acknowledge each other's success.

“I understand where they are coming from, but I would prefer if they didnt fine players. I don't want to be too critical because the RFL is in a hard spot. It is a changing landscape for players to keep up.

“It is tough. The players are constantly being asked to change behaviours and adjust what they are doing.

“They are going to need constant reminders but I applaud them, they are doing a great job.

“The RFL need to keep the competition going.

“We are all desperate for that and don't want to take unnecessary risks. There is advice that has been given that celebrating is unnecessary risk and avoidable contact.”