BENDIGO'S Sam Stagg can only imagine what the sound would have been like inside Marvel Stadium under normal circumstances in the dying stages of the North Melbourne vs St. Kilda AFL game last Sunday.
Usually a game with less than a goal the difference in the closing stages where every possession matters is heightened by a roaring crowd.
The Kangaroos-Saints game was just that - North Melbourne won by two points - but from the Marvel Stadium stands there was silence, and that's one of the enduring memories Stagg will have from his first game as an AFL boundary umpire.
"It was a great comeback from North after they were five goals down at half-time to over-run the Saints. What was really unique was in those last five minutes the crowd normally would have been up and about making plenty of noise," Stagg said on Thursday.
"Instead, we could hear everything that was being said on the bench and it was probably those last couple of minutes where you could really feel the lack of a crowd being there."
For Stagg, he was able to get his first AFL game under his belt shortly before the season was suspended until May 31 later that day by AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan due to the coronoavirus crisis.
"It was great to be able to tick off that first game and I guess now it's a matter of waiting to see when the season will resume," said Stagg, who took up the whistle with the Bendigo Umpires Association in 2011.
"I'll just work on keeping my fitness up and be ready for when the season gets going again."
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