SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Two Roosters supporters in the crowd watch on during the round 20 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on July 24, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

A photograph and $22 bucks is all fans need to have for a cardboard cut-out of themselves to be placed permanently in the stands while their teams play.

The NRL is pulling out all the stops, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, as the 2020 season restarts on Thursday night.

The match will be first professional sporting code to return to the field after the coronavirus pandemic halted play on March 23.

A "Fan In The Stand" online portal has been set up by marketing gurus. Supporters can upload a photo of themselves, pay $22 plus GST and have a cut-out made.

The cut-outs will be placed in the home ground of the supporter's favourite team and will remain there until at least the end of round nine. At the end of the season, the cut-out will be returned to the buyer.

Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V'landys has set the ambitious target of July 1 as the return date for capped crowds, but the cut-outs will remain in place for the next seven weeks regardless.

There is an expectation within the NRL that the number of "fans" will increase each week with more orders. The league has also suggested to broadcasters about the potential of reading out the number of "home fans" in the stadium for each match from round four onwards.

There is an expectation that broadcasters, Nine and Foxtel, will pan to the stands during telecasts in coming weeks, with still images of the "crowds" being captured by two on-ground photographers.

The NRL will trail 500 cardboard cut-out "fans" at Bankwest and Central Coast Stadiums this Friday and Saturday before advertising the concept leading into Round 4.

German soccer team Borussia Monchengladbach had placed 12,000 cardboard cut-outs of supporters in its home ground for a match against Bundesliga last weekend.

Venues are restricted to players and officials in each club's COVID-19 bubble, essential match day officials, and media. The cut-outs are one of the measures the NRL is using to include atmosphere for match day in the crowd-less stadiums.

Fan-made banners will be placed around the six venues chosen to host games in the short term. Music will still be played during the warm-up, breaks of play, and at half time and full time. The music will be pulled from players' playlists.

Although not yet confirmed, the NRL is working on a number of ideas to have videos and audio content from supporters relayed from their lounge rooms into stadiums. It is believed the idea involves a select number of members from each club being captured cheering their own team live.

Their reactions to the live game will add atmosphere to the stadium. There will likely be a delay of a few second as the content is generated and moderated, but would serve as a backdrop to the on-field action and give the players the impression they are playing in front of a live audience. To be able to achieve this concept, the league is looking at a number of platforms to use.

The NRL season will restart on Thursday night with a blockbuster with the Eels travelling up to Brisbane to take on the Broncos at Brisbane Stadium.