Sunday afternoon rugby league’s time to shine
Manly Sea Eagles Brett Stewart celebrates their win in the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. Manly defeated the Warriors 24 - 10. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
On the weekend it was revealed that American pop-punk-rock-indie-alternate band ‘Good Charlotte’ would headline the NRL grand final entertainment this year.
Which, aside from potentially causing considerable tattoo-related confusion if South Sydney progress to the big day, was most likely meet with casual indifference by most rugby league fans.
After their career began to flag in the US the band has more or less become a touring back-up band for Australian sports carnivals, and if you really like your footy chances are all you care about is, well, the footy.
Hell, the half-time entertainment at yesterday’s Gold Coast rugby league grand final was a bloke wearing nothing but a hat and singlet running the length of the field thrusting his junk at opposition supporters, diving for a try under the posts before scaling a 2m fence narrowly avoiding a very public circumcision–and didn’t the crowd love it!
Something else the crowd loved was sitting in the warm afternoon sunshine at a rugby league match that started with a biff on the second tackle, and ended with a Golden Point victory in the fading light.
Yes, let’s talk about this. A Sunday afternoon grand final.
There is a time for everything in life. You eat cereal in the morning. Watch Ellen at Midday. Throw your old whipper snipper in the neighbour’s skip bin at night. And you play rugby league grand finals on a Sunday afternoon at 3pm.
Unfortunately, even the kind of ok but not really half-arsed 5pm kick-off has all but been blown up in the new TV deal.
Damn it, a daytime grand final is part of our history, and if we can’t honour our history…how can we celebrate the present? (Hang on a sec, I think I’ve heard that before…)
Sure rugby league grand finals have been played on different days, the first Sunday game in ’51 only coming about because the work experience kid down at the NSWRL forgot to book out the SCG, and the game was a stinker if game reports are accurate.
But at night? C’mon! It’s bad enough having one measly daylight semi-final (which reeked of awesome) but the GF is just too much.
Even with a public holiday on the other side trying to get people together on a Sunday night is impossible, and that’s not even mentioning New Zealand viewers for whom the game will start sometime around 10pm after a dozen overly dramatic montages.
People say “what about Origin” or “what about the Super Bowl?”
Well Origin has always been at night, so there’s really nothing to compare it to really.
As for the Super Bowl, Australian NFL fans got up at 3am on a workday today all because the NFL respects the right so of college football to play games on a Saturday, so the sport cares something about history.
Then there’s the crap argument that the viewer numbers are better at night.
So what? If you’re only tuning into the bloody grand final by accident when flicking through the channels on Sunday night while cooking your toasted cheese sandwich then how likely are you to a) Go to a game b) By a membership or c) Watch a regular season match on telly?
If you ask me it all comes back to bands like Good Charlotte, as the event organiser bozos know that at night time all they have to is let go a few fireworks to put on a good pre-match show instead of scraping together the closest touring act.
Sure the entertainment may be better at night, but y’know what’s better during the day?
You guessed it, the footy. Streaker or no streaker.
Follow Chris on Twitter: @Vic_Arious
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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