NRL to bring cardboard cut-out fans to stadiums

Following in the footsteps of Bundesliga clubs in Germany, the NRL has launched its own cardboard cut-out fan initiative to spice up live telecasts.

The league has set up a website called "Fan in the Stand", where die-hard rugby league fans can upload a photo of themselves in fan gear, for it then to be printed out and placed at their favourite team's home stadium.

The NRL season resumes Thursday night with the Broncos and Eels meeting at Suncorp Stadium, but fans will not be in attendance for the forseeable future.

According to the website, the initiative costs AU$22, plus GST, and the cut-outs are 100 percent recyclable.

"Support your NRL team even at games that are behind closed doors," the website says. "The NRL are providing fans the opportunity to still take their seat within the stands and 'watch' their team play."

The NRL says cutouts will remain at each club's home ground until at least Round 9, after which the photos will be returned to those who submitted them.

The league's move to include fans in the game-day experience, despite matches being played in empty stadiums, mirrors an initiative started in Germany, where fans of some Bundesliga teams -- including Borussia Mochengladbach -- placed cut-outs of fans in their active areas.

For their last home match, Gladbach had around 13,000 cut-outs spread around their 54,000-seat home arena.