Long summer for deprived fan

Like a Billy Slater kick return, another off-season bereft of rugby league is fast approaching. Sadly, though, it won't slip past in a flash. It will plod along in excruciating fashion. No doubt you've already begun - as much as one can in such a difficult, emotional time - to prepare for the long and frustrating summer without football that lies ahead. It never gets easier for the die-hard fan. Luckily for NRL players they have barely enough time for a weekend away with their families before they are able to keep busy recuperating from career-threatening injuries, relocating to new clubs and cities, and returning to grueling gym work and training sessions in the build-up to yet another energy-sapping year - but do they ever consider how tough this period is for the supporter? The fan craves such commitments. He sits on the couch, watching cricket every weekend, but his mind is restless. He scribbles down his team's 'potential line-up' on the back of an envelope that hasn