Brisbane Broncos on borrowed time
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A lot has been made of the Brisbane Broncos’ stranglehold on Friday night football.
It’s been called a disgrace and an unfair advantage over the rest of the clubs in the NRL. But Friday night football might just be the downfall of the Broncos in 2012.
It’s not the Broncos fault. The Nine Network has made an obvious decision to play the Broncos on Friday nights live into Queensland because they are the premier club in the sunshine state.
But in a competition where everything else is so even and any kind of advantage is gratefully accepted, the Broncos are sitting pretty.
The routine the players are in is a farce. Week after week they know exactly when they are playing and how to best prepare for each game, not even mentioning how lovely a job it would be to work in the Broncos sales or marketing departments.
Nine of Brisbane’s opening 10 games have been on a Friday night; blockbuster matches each weekend against teams wanting to knock them off. Make no mistake, players still fire up for a Friday night clash.
The Broncos are flying on the table and have dominated Friday night footy while the Cronulla Sharks, still without a major sponsor, have been camped on a shuffle through Fox Sports. The Warriors, Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast have all been shafted by the Nine Network too.
An average television audience on a Friday night is over 900,000 viewers. An average audience for a Fox Sports game is just over 200,000.
Unless you’re a Broncos supporter, there won’t be too many upset people if and when the Broncos nosedive.
Anthony Griffin’s chargers have been up to the task so far. They’ve accepted and won almost all challengers.
But what has been an impressive start to the year, may end in heartache for the Broncos. All these Friday night wars surely aren’t good for you in the long run.
Jharal Yow Yeh is gone for the season. Justin Hodges and Peter Wallace are continually battling injury.
Then there is State of Origin.
Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker, Matt Gillett, Petero Civoneciva, Ben Hannant and Josh Maguire are all expected to play parts in this year’s Origin series.
It’s a murky time of year for the mighty Broncos as they scratch their way through the Origin period and try to stay healthy for a run at the finals.
After the bye in Round 11, the Broncos travel to Melbourne for another Friday night clash against the Storm. Then they’ll finally run out for a day game against Newcastle. Remember that big old yellow thing in the sky? Perhaps they’ll need to wear sunglasses.