THERE were a few frowns when rugby league did not appear alongside rugby union, football, horse racing, basketball and speedway in the Government’s list of spectator pilots for September.

We now understand that the sport is pushing for a whole Super League round pilot on 30 September - which would include Saints’ game at Wigan.

Hopefully this comes off as you can feel the supporters itching to get a glimpse of the team again even in a muted, socially distanced environment.

Quite a few fans, in particular, are yearning to see James Graham again in the flesh and shout out their encouragement.

But this whole process is a huge balancing act, as seen by the hoops that players and staff have to leap through daily, including before, during and after the match.

It all seems so delicate - we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

And the events over the last two weeks show that each weekend’s matches are one cough, splutter and positive case away from being derailed.

First Catalans, then Wakefield and the latter having a knock-on effect on this weekend's games.

The players have a huge burden to continue doing the right thing.

Our game in the midst of all this is only as strong as the weakest link. Maybe that message does need hammering home, with the dos and don'ts tightened up and set out crystal clear in black and white.

The players are having to make sacrifices, but so too have the fans - and often the latter can get frustrated by the whole behind closed doors situation.

It is not necessarily about the lost season ticket money, it is more the not physically being able to be there and support.

A spectator sport without fans on the face of it is a contradiction, and it seems with every bit of Tuesday bad Covid testing news we now have a chorus from some fans calling for the year to be written off.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Rugby league, like any sport or business, does not exist in a vacuum.

Clubs can’t just sit still and suspend operations without it having a huge impact on their finances and their ability to pay players this year and next.

They have to do their utmost to keep the show on the road, of course within the parameters of what is safe.

That’s why, although it won’t be perfect, the game can't put itself into mothballs and pop its head back out when the coast is clear, it has to salvage as much it can from a rotten year.

If that is weak teams, afternoon kicks offs, short notice and re-arranged games, then so be it.