Channel Nine, get the Storm and Sharks on TV
Another year of NRL, and Gyngell and the powerbrokers at Channel 9 are again trotting out one of Bon Jovi’s B-sides to flashy special effects on our TV sets. But they aren’t fooling me.
That imbecile with the red noggin may even boast that we have endured his recycled and inanely cretinous head-wobbles for 20 years on the Footy Show, but again, I ain’t believing the hype.
You see, for all the bells and whistles, the smoke and mirrors, the razzle dazzle and the shimmy-shimmy-whooshes that Channel 9 use to promote their coverage, the network is guilty of defrauding the general public.
Take for instance this season’s free-to-air showcase matches. Despite winning only five games in 2011, Parramatta has featured in five of the six rounds so far this season. The Eels have won one of those six matches to languish at the bottom of the ladder.
Meanwhile the Melbourne Storm, the team that boasts three of the game’s finest players, a team synonymous with champagne rugby league and the benchmark for all others, has been assigned to pay TV.
Channel 9 and the NRL may form an argument that it is ratings rather that merit that decide who will appear on the main broadcast. However, I will not allow myself to be defrauded by that logic.
Why am I subjected to watching toothless rednecks adorned in blue and gold boo and throw coins at their team when I should be watching high-quality first-class performances from the competition front runners?
The Knights v Parra game last week was rubbish. It stunk. Even Gould could not hype up the game, and I need not remind anyone that “Gus loves his Sunday footy”.
(Memo to Gus: get out of my life…)
If it’s not the Eels, it’s the Tigers. Again, with one win for 2012, the Tigers have featured prominently on free-to-air. Gus loves big Keithy, loves Leichardt Oval on Sundays, loves himself most of all and seems to start frothing every time Benji touches the ball.
I am led to believe that Beau Ryan is funnier than Bob Hope, and if I am patient enough, Adam Blair will come good and assume the throne as the next Dally Messenger.
And then Danny Weidler reports back to Kenny Sutcliffe on the National 9 news that Robbie Farah has confessed his love for Benji Marshall and… and… who cares!
If Channel 9 and the NRL are fair dinkum, they’d play the Sharkies every week. The reason being? They are playing white hot at the moment.
Danny Weidler could try to report on stories of meaning and purpose (not about Willie Mason joining the Tigers or Hindmarsh being simple or Hayne doing a train/plane/lame impersonation on the weekend).
I acknowledge that there are people in great proportion who follow the Eels and Tigers. And of course that will equal easy ratings for Channel 9.
However, and for the greater good of the game and its expansion, Channel 9 and the NRL have an obligation to show the best-quality matches more often than not.
This will result in greater sponsorship and support for the game, crucial in these economic times, as well as a level playing field for all clubs in their drive for improved memberships and followers.
The good folk in our nation’s capital, the home of the mighty green-machine, may well be under the impression they do not have a team to support if reliant only upon Channel 9′s coverage.
Get real Channel 9. I implore the station to adopt a balanced and impartial coverage. Play the better quality games, not the games that suit only the big teams. Only then might I concede that relentlessly showing Mario Fenech’s head being stretched into an alien type form is remotely funny.