The NRL is delusional seeking expansion through Origin

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    While the NRL is patting itself on the back that an Origin game will be played in Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide over the next three years, the Origin faithful who can’t afford the airfares and accommodation have been uppercutted.

    And to make sure the MCG game this year, the Optus Stadium in Perth next year, and an Adelaide Oval game in 2020 are alive, they will be either Origin 1, or Origin 2, which translates to either ANZ Stadium or Suncorp hosting a possible dead rubber in rugby league heartland.

    Have the inmates actually taken over the asylum?

    Fact – Origin is the Holy Grail of rugby league with its awesome drawing power and passion.

    Fact – it will go close to filling the MCG, Optus Stadium, and Adelaide Oval, but less than half the spectors will be Victorians, Western Australians, and South Australians.

    Fact – the vast majority of spectators will travel from Queensland, NSW, with a smattering from the ACT who can afford the huge increase in expenses, but still want watch Origin live at three of the iconic venues in world sport.

    Forgotten are the Origin faithful who religiously save their hard-earned cents to be at Suncorp and ANZ Stadium to physically support their maroon, or blue.

    Johnathan Thurston Cameron Smith Queensland Maroons State of Origin NRL 2017

    (AAP Image/Darren England)

    They are being as badly treated as grass roots rugby league, the players of tomorrow.

    More fact – only the AFL and A-League are truly national among the football codes, with the exception of Tasmania, while rugby league and rugby will never ever be fully national.

    So stop being delusional NRL, and stick to supporting your own heartland for the Holy Grail of your code.

    On the other side of the coin, rival Origin coaches Kevin Walters and Brad Fittler have applauded the decision.

    That’s the party line, and their employers, but privately both will have their fingers crossed that the series will still be alive if their only home game is Origin 3.

    Walters added a humorous touch, saying Queensland will play Origin on any day that ends with a “y”.

    But it’s no laughing matter for the poorer Origin faithful who have been doomed to watch their team on television when their biggest wish has always been to be in the stand.

    For as long as rugby league will be played, it will always be a Queensland, NSW, and ACT code, with Melbourne Storm the only exception.

    Kevin Walters smiles

    (AAP Image/Jim Morton)

    The sole reason why the Storm has been accepted in AFL heartland is because they are invariably the best, if not one of the best, in the NRL.

    And Victorians love winners.

    Having won their first premiership in only their second year with John Ribot the supremo, Chris Anderson the coach, and Glen Lazarus the skipper, that gave Victoria bragging rights over NSW and Queensland.

    And since then with Craig Bellamy as coach, Cameron Smith as skipper, and senior players like Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, the Storm are the current premiers.

    And nothing means more to a dyed-in-the-wool Victorian than beating NSW and Queensland teams at their own game.

    Hopefully the NRL will get off the delusional train afer the next three years and stick to where their Holy Grail should be decided at Suncorp, and ANZ Stadium.

    Can you imagine the AFL grand final being taken away from the MCG?

    In your dreams.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (190)

    • February 15th 2018 @ 6:40am
      BA Sports said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:40am | ! Report

      “Fact – it will go close to filling the MCG, Optus Stadium, and Adelaide Oval, but less than half the spectors will be Victorians, Western Australians, and South Australians.

      Fact – the vast majority of spectators will travel from Queensland, NSW, with a smattering from the ACT who can afford the huge increase in expenses, but still want watch Origin live at three of the iconic venues in world sport.”

      So two of your “Facts” are actually the same “fact”.

      And secondarily, they are not facts unless you have some statistics from Ticketek to back that up? Otherwise they are just your opinions – which in my opinion are wrong. If you are telling me that more people will go to the game in Perth from NSW (where they struggle to sell out an Origin on an annual basis) and QLD (where last year they still had tickets available on the day of the game and from anywhere but Brisbane and Cairns there are no direct flights to Perth), vs the people who live 5 minutes up the road; then the references to dellusion and asylums being placed at the NRL are miss placed….

      Oh and your other fact; “More fact – only the AFL and A-League are truly national among the football codes, with the exception of Tasmania, while rugby league and rugby will never ever be fully national”

      Also not a fact. First of all – a shout out to the good people of the Northern Territory; Perhaps go for a trip to the NT to check it out – preferably somewhere without internet service… And to your poorly made point; The A-League and AFL are more “national” codes by the metric of professional teams, but since you do not know what will happen in 10 years, 20 years or 30 years, you can’t actually say it is a fact that the NRL will never truly be national…

      I am so annoyed with myself for clicking on this…

      • February 15th 2018 @ 8:10am
        Greg said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

        Another reason why the AFL is not national – they don’t even have a team in the nations capital

        • February 15th 2018 @ 9:23am
          Last Straw said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          …….and they don’t have a national team. (International rules is not the same game as Aussie Rules).d

          • February 15th 2018 @ 9:55am
            Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report


            The majority of Australians live in NSW and Queensland, where less than a quarter of the AFL team’s play, and where AFL is a minority sport..

            Half of the AFL’s teams are in one city, which is not even Australia’s biggest city.

            They have no team in the national capital.

            They have no team north of Brisbane.

            They have no team in regional NSW/QLD (the population of NSW and QLD outside Sydney and Brisbane is bigger than WA and SA combined)

            The AFL will always be a Victoria-centric code that is a minority sport north of the Murray, where most Australians live.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 10:32am
              Christo the Daddyo said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

              “The AFL will always be a Victoria-centric code that is a minority sport north of the Murray, where most Australians live.”

              But that doesn’t mean it’s not national. It just means it’s stronger in some areas than others.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 10:58am
                Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                The NRL’s teams correlate more closely to where Australians actually live. The majority of Australians live north of the Murray.

                Why is Port Adelaide or Fremantle more important than Canberra, or North Queensland, or Newcastle, or the Illawarra?

                What is ‘national’ about having as many teams in NSW, the most populous state, as SA which is 8 times smaller?

              • February 15th 2018 @ 10:59am
                KenW said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                Of all the code war debates, the national vs not-national is the most… well… it’s somewhere in the middle on banality.

                How many dots do you need before you’re national? Do the dots need to make a pleasing geographic pattern to qualify? or is it a demographic pattern?

                Clearly the AFL comp came from Melbourne, half the teams are still from there and they’ve dotted out to another 4 states.

                Clearly the NRL comp came from Sydney, half the teams are still from there and they’ve dotted out to another 2 states, 1 territory and another country.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 11:08am
                The Barry said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                Well said KenW

                The trolling and code war garbage that goes on is all pathetic.

                I really don’t get how people can want to expend time and energy on pointless “my code is better than yours”. The sort of lonely loser that would go onto the page of a sport they don’t like to peck away is almost unimaginable.

                Is it my imagination or is it getting worse.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:18am
                clipper said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                Fred – it’s not like it’s a vast majority – it’s only 52-48 at most, and southern NSW is more AFL, so that would wipe out that 2%. A fairer way would be the percentages north and south of the Barassi line

              • February 15th 2018 @ 12:06pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                Good old clip the afl fanboy into the fray again lol

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:31am
                Jim said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

                Fred your arguments is garbage – because it is almost solely based on where the historical dominant point of development of each sport was, which happens to conveniently correlate to population to support your argument.

                Its a straw argument too, both sports are ‘national sports’ because they are nationally significant in terms of participation levels, spectators etc etc. Each have their own areas where they are stronger and less strong per say. Its just another pitiful argument seeking to somehow prove one code is ‘better’ than another…..

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:56am
                Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                Clipper what’s the AFL team in southern NSW?

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:59am
                Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                Jim you can obfuscate all you want – the garbage argument is the argument that the AFL is so much more ‘national’ than the NRL.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 12:12pm
                KenW said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                TB I reckon it’s getting worse although not quite so bad as it was years ago when it seemed a purpose built thread was going up once a week

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report


                It’s one thing for you to try to argue which of AFL or NRL is most national.


                AFL IS national – because, just as the NRL is the ‘national’ top league of that code in Australia so too is the AFL the ‘national’ top league of that code.

                So without getting into the fine detail of unwinnable arguments – let it just be assert that your comment “THE AFL IS NOT NATIONAL” is quite false.

                Let alone how you can assert that a code with 1 top tier club in the states that make up 46.33% of the population qualifies that code as national – especially given that that club is basically a transplanted QLD side with primary feeder club/structure in QLD – that is quite beyond me.

                The AFL is the only national league with a minimum 2 clubs in each mainland state – therefore the only code able to provide a ‘local derby’ in each state and able to ensure a state based ‘home game’ is played each week of the H&A season. To me – that’s a pretty good starting point – actually having a game on each week rather than 1 every 2nd week. And the FFA doesn’t have that.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:24pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                For the sake of everyone’s sanity just agree with Perry or he’ll write one of those 1509 word lectures that only a fanatical AFL fan bore can produce in a discussion about rugby league.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:45pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report


                Sorry for backing up my statements – I didn’t think we were using twitter number of character parameters on this discus

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                That’s one of your more interesting posts pez

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:12pm
                Perry Bridge said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:12pm | ! Report


                That was attempted humour….or irony…or something.

                Sheesh shame it’s not Friday yet.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:53pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

                I was serious Pez.

            • Roar Rookie

              February 22nd 2018 @ 1:16pm
              Seventeener said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

              Fred, you’re full of it.

              Queensland had 2 AFL teams and one of them plays in Cairns in Round 1 – there goes two of your false assertions.

              GWS play 3 games a year in Canberra and the Talent Academy draws players from regional NSW – there go two more of your ignorant claims.

              Only 8 of the AFL’s 18 teams are in Melbourne and they regularly take their Home games Interstate to Alice Springs, Darwin, Launceston, Hobart and Wellington.

              The Reserves competition in the Northern States and Territories is called the NEAFL, with teams playing in each State and Territory.

              Geelong represents regional Victoria and 2016 Premiers, the Western Bulldogs, will play 2 AFL games in Ballarat this year.

              So, you’re basically wrong about everything.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 8:23am
        Peter Phelps said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        ” the Origin faithful who can’t afford the airfares and accommodation have been uppercutted.”

        David, this must be the most self centered supercilious comments that I have read in a very long tome. What about all those rugby league fans in Adelaide who never get to see a live game of rugby league because of airfares and accommodation ?

        Not all league fans live in Sydney. There are thousands and thousands of the faithful that tune into Origin every year because its the only way they can watch our sport. The biggest gate Origin has ever had was in Melbourne. Not Brisbane, not Sydney but in Victoria.

        Its high time that fans woke up to the fact that the future growth of our game does not lie within the NSW borders

    • February 15th 2018 @ 6:52am
      Perry Bridge said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:52am | ! Report

      Actually I’m not too sure that Victorians really care about the Storm that much anyway – most of their followers are Kiwis who adopt them as their team. (okay – many – but that includes my In-Laws).

      The NRL isn’t seen as a threat so it’s kinda like a little both that is tolerated.

      Were the 2 Rugby codes to merge then real national expansion might be plausible but in the current context they keep stepping on each others toes that niether is able to get a proper step forward.

      The reason Victoria likes the SoO IS that the hotels in town get booked out and it makes the MCG look a little more like a multi purpose venue getting set to rectangular mode now and then.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 7:28am
        Rod said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:28am | ! Report

        I don’t know if Sydney siders really care about the Swans except the for 30k plus that turn up each week.

        I don’t know and really don’t care if we ever see an NRL teams in Perth or Adelaide. It’s a sport for goodness sake. It’s not really all that important.

        I think holding SOO in these other cities is not a bad idea, at the very least it appears to have increased national tv viewership by doing so over the last 20-25 years by taking it to Melbourne on the odd occasion . I’m specifically talking the Origin series.

        To be frank as much as I like Origin , it’s really is a product to get non diehards to watch the game of rugby league, it’s debatable whether this has translated into more eyeballs on the NRL though.

        NRL has enough issues as it stands, The Origin series is not one of them though. Unless your a Blues supporter like me!

        • February 15th 2018 @ 11:11pm
          Aligee said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:11pm | ! Report

          I’m not actually sure Sydneysiders care about anything sporting really – in comparison to the rest of the country.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 11:28pm
            Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:28pm | ! Report

            Good to see algernon the afl fanboy stalker finally join this debate with some typical self serving tripe.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 11:42pm
              Aligee said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

              Hey Elbusto, this is not League unlimited, when people have different opinions you cant ban them, this is a multi sports site with multitudes of opinions.

              grow up a tad.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:47pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

                Easiest fish to hook algernon the afl fanboy stalker!

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:48pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

                By the way algernon how is your prediction women’s rugby league is dead going? AFL fanatic that you are!

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:54pm
                Aligee said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

                Elbusto, I quickly scanned through the thread and you add nothing except to bully other people for their opinions

                Elbusto, are you sure you have left LU ?.

                If you go back you can just return to your echo chamber and have everyone agree with you.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:59pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

                Hi algernon. I just quickly scanned the rugby league threads and you are an afl fanboy who hates rugby league and I’ll call you every time. Simples. You have absolutelyno credibility, you make stuff up to suit your argument and I will call you on it every time. Enjoy!

              • February 15th 2018 @ 11:58pm
                Aligee said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:58pm | ! Report

                Elbusto, how is your prediction of RL taking over Tasmania going ?

              • February 16th 2018 @ 12:04am
                Aligee said | February 16th 2018 @ 12:04am | ! Report

                Poor Elbusto, so sad, so mad, what have i made up ?.

      • Columnist

        February 15th 2018 @ 7:48am
        David Lord said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:48am | ! Report

        PB, the chances of rugby league, and rugby, merging are worse than none and Buckleys. Other than that impossible scenario, you are agreeing with the column.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:51am
        clipper said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        The very real difference between NRL in Melbourne and AFL in Sydney is that, after all their success, the Storm still aren’t even close to overtaking ONE Victorian AFL side in attendance – the Swans, with similar, although not nearly as much success, have overtaken every single NSW NRL team and even GWS, who, lets face it, are struggling a bit to gain traction, have overtaken a couple of Sydney NRL teams.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 12:13pm
          Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          Fair point, but some of the smaller Melbourne AFL teams have their attendances boosted massively by ‘away’ fans when they play the bigger clubs like Collingwood. Whereas the Storm’s home crowds, except when they play the Warriors, are 95% Storm fans.

          Credit to the Swans for carving out a cult following among the trendy Eastern Suburbs latte set. Their following west of Newtown is pretty tiny though, and GWS has almost zero fans at all in Sydney.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 9:41pm
            David Cowley said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

            According to the last statistics I could find (Sept 2017) GWS membership stood at 20,944. Surely 1 of those 20,000 lived in Sydney? Had they been an NRL club with those figures they would have had the 4th most members behind Brisbane, Souths and Parramatta.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 9:46pm
              Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

              Powerful stuff Dave …….

            • February 16th 2018 @ 12:42am
              mm13 said | February 16th 2018 @ 12:42am | ! Report

              You do realise no one takes those figures seriously in victoria. As a league fan down here pretty much every afl fan i speak to laughs at the creative ways they fudge numbers. Let’s just say giving out memberships to extended families and friends of players in melbourne isn’t what i would call a real fan base.

            • February 16th 2018 @ 2:15pm
              Fred said | February 16th 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

              If there are 20,000 genuine GWS members, let alone 20,000 living in Sydney, then I’m the King of England.

              I know Swans supporters, Waratahs supporters, A League supporters. But I’ve never encountered a GWS fan in my life. And I live in western Sydney.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 12:49pm
          Crosscoder said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

          Yet Tv ratings In Melbourne for NRL grand finals ,have have a tendency to outrate AFL G/F in Sydney.
          Disturbing news hey Clip.
          Wonder how the interest was engendered? Storm? SOO?
          Sometime Clip you have a real habit of ignoring major points that don’t suit your argument.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 1:06pm
            Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

            The NRL ratings at the pub which Clip cleans are zero. He confiscates all of the remotes and forces everybody to watch fox footy all day crosscoder!

            • February 15th 2018 @ 1:24pm
              Crosscoder said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              That’s a real shame JK,the patrons of that pub anyway are all in the higher income ,nuclear scientist category,thus they wouldn’t be interested in SOO or NRL for that matter.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:27pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                I keep forgetting that I’m from one of those lower demographics crosscoder. Clip apparently bops bogans like us with a pool cue if we try to change fox to channel 502!

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:07pm
                Crosscoder said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

                You keep dropping the G ,from your present participles or gerunds JK. That’s the problem.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 2:13pm
                Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                I’ve laughed at clip ever since he (incorrectly) corrected me for using the word ‘pyrrhic’. Poor bloke made an ass of himself then and has been doing so ever since.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 5:28pm
          Rod said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

          Hard to disagree with your point. Every time I see tv viewership for AFL in Sydney it’s not as significant as crowd attendances though.

          But the AFL are chipping away , and if they maintain the rage , I’m sure they will reep the rewards .

          • February 15th 2018 @ 11:19pm
            Aligee said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:19pm | ! Report

            The Swans have an average crowd around 30-35k, they also average around 100-120k across FTA and Fox, who knows how many stream via the AFL website on phones etc.

            They do OK

            • February 16th 2018 @ 8:36am
              Cathar Treize said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

              Aligee, those FTA figures are no longer 100-120k for the Swans in Sydney. Try around half that!

              • February 16th 2018 @ 8:54am
                Aligee said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Combined FTA and fox – combined, read combined

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:59am
        Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Perry the afl fan bore once again in denial re the growth of league in Melbourne. Why so threatened Pez!

        • February 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm
          Perry Bridge said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report


          Not in denial at all – the NRL registered players for the last 3 years show from 3371 in 2014 to a record 3745 in 2016. That’s hardly smashing the door down.

          The Storm are not regarded as a threat to either AFL or soccer or cricket. They HAVE done well to earn respect – esp Cam Smith, Slater, Bellamy and the departing Cronk. They have limited visibility (the NSWRL…..ahem…..the NRL still doesn’t seem to know how to market/present them to Melbourne).

          Now – were there 2 NRL teams meaning a game on each week in Melb?? But – across SoO weeks with the bye rounds – Storm can drop completely off the radar. They may not play a game in Melb for 3 weeks.

          That’s where I’m coming from.

          btw – my sports mad son is a Storm follower (he follows every thing including Melbourne Ice) and one of his good mates is what you’d call a Storm family who will be there tomorrow night (when he should be playing cricket in my sons team!!!). But – that’s very much the exception.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 1:33pm
            Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            Just another bunch of afl fanbore pot shots at rugby league perry? Find something else to do mate.

            • February 16th 2018 @ 10:43am
              Perry Bridge said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:43am | ! Report


              Y’reckon? Didn’t bother reading it – did you. So we found you point of mental fatigue (unsurprisingly soon).

      • February 15th 2018 @ 10:04am
        bbt said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        As a Storm member, living in Melbourne, I totally disagree with your statement. 10-15 years that may have been the case, definitely not the situation now. BTW – most Kiwis I know support the Warriors.

        RL will never overtake AFL in sheer popularity in Melbourne. AFL culture is way too strong. But there is certainly a lot of interest and support now.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 12:08pm
          Justin Kearney said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

          Clip and perry are established afl Fanboy tr oll s who regularly invade rugby league discussions with their insecurities.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 7:03pm
            duecer said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

            Can’t you add anything to the blog without continually attacking people that don’t share your point of view. So what if AFL fans post something that’s not to your liking – get over it and shoot it down. It’s very boorish behaviour to attack everything posted by posters not to your liking, especially as they aren’t attacking you. Certainly they may not ever post anything positive, but would a Labor supporter ever post a positive review of Turnbull?,

            • February 16th 2018 @ 8:39am
              Cathar Treize said | February 16th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

              you’re lucky you don’t have these xenophobes on the union tabs, you’d probably have a different view. But I suppose their bullying has some resonance with union supporters

              • February 16th 2018 @ 6:39pm
                duecer said | February 16th 2018 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

                That well and truly prove my point – I’ve never posted on the RU site, I have posted on other sites and have posted a few serious questions here, rarely getting a response, but as soon as someone comes along with a negative comment there seems to be a frenzy.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 11:41pm
          Peter Phelps said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

          Melbourne are now the 3rd largest RL club for memberships. From zero to 3rd in just 20 years, that shows the kind of growth that is possible outside of traditional areas. One thing is for sure, you have to be in it to win it.

          • February 16th 2018 @ 10:54am
            Perry Bridge said | February 16th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            #Peter Phelps,

            That’s the thing in Melbourne – and AFL states – it’s a culture of putting your money where your support is (to be a ‘supporter/member’ rather than a ‘fan/observer’).

            So – in Melb you have MVFC in the HAL with the highest attendances and membership – and Melb City are 4th in the HAL for memberships. And you have Storm who were actually 4th (behind Broncos, Rabbitohs and Eels). All while the AFL membership numbers have continued to grow (AFL over 900,000 for 18 teams vs NRL over 300,000 for 16 teams, that’s a 50K avg vs a 19K avg).

            Is it just that ‘traditional areas’ for Rugby League were subject to the “Leagues Club” model instead of the attendance/membership model and that’s still very slowly being broken down. It should therefore show what is possible INSIDE traditional areas.

            • February 16th 2018 @ 12:16pm
              Big Daddy said | February 16th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

              You can expect the cyber police to be out in force that you have actually posted about another code.

      • February 17th 2018 @ 10:37am
        Justin Kearney said | February 17th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Crowd just under 20000 and 80000 fta viewers in Melbourne on a night in February with the Winter Olympics dominating the tv space. That’s better than a pass mark and demonstrates that the Storm are making ground in their home market.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 6:58am
      GoGWS said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      I think your second ‘fact’ might be a bit off there. The SOO probably won’t be sell outs. Greenberg was recently quoted as saying the NRL expects 30K- 40K at Optus Stadium. Going on that statement I reckon they’ll only half fill the 60K Perth stadium. And half filling MCG and Adelaide is also more realistic. Anyway time will tell.

      History shows that SOO games in Melbourne have initial appeal but then crowds have diminished in successive years. The novelty soon wears off if you go back to the well too soon and too often. Provided they space the SOO games, and have years off in between, then I think they could keep up SOO games in WA/SA/Vic for the long term but it’ll only ever be a novelty. Whether they should seek tin play WA/SA/Vic long term is another question – as you point out, there are losers in traditional RL markets. If the NRL does want a genuine national presence it’s going to need to plonk teams in Adelaide and Perth not just wheel a SOO game into town every now and then.

      • Columnist

        February 15th 2018 @ 7:55am
        David Lord said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        GoGWS, the reason why rugby league crowds are falling off in the greatest sporting spectator city in the world pro-rata to population, is even the many of the wealthier Queensland and NSW Origin supporters have had enough of paying through their noses.

        It’s far easier, and cheaper, to watch it live on Channel Nine with “Rabbits” Warren.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 9:36am
          GoGWS said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

          Aren’t they selling $20 tickets and $10 meals in 2018 for many of the Homebush games… I really don’t think cost of the key here. If costs as much, if not more, to go to AFL games and they draw very solid crowds in all states (other han QLD recently but that should turn around once Suns/Lions start playing half decent football).

      • February 15th 2018 @ 8:49am
        Ben said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        The last origin game played at the MCG is the origin record crowd, 91,513 in game 2 2015 to be exact. Hasn’t been a game in Melbourne since so your point about diminishing crowds is completely wrong.

        And your point on Greenbergs quote is also incorrect, he was referring to the opening double header match in round one this year, Rabbitohs vs Warriors and the Storm vs the Bulldogs. Entirely different to an origin match.

        If Origin really is the holy grail of the NRL calander than it should not be too much of a problem to see a sell-out in both Perth and Adelaide in the future.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 8:59am
          jamesb said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          For the Roosters v Storm match, 21,000 attended. So if 21,000 attended for a club match, then there is a good chance that Origin will sellout at Adelaide Oval.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 11:23am
            Jack Russell said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            Depends on prices. If it’s $150 a ticket then it will probably struggle.
            If a majority of seats are $30 to $40, then it’s got a good chance of filling the ground.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 11:43pm
              Peter Phelps said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

              That applies to everything not just RL.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 9:46am
          GoGWS said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Ben – not arguing 2015. Check the records – they did overdo SOO previously at the MCG and across three successive games there the crowds diminished significantly each time until they put it on hiatus to return later in 2015. My point is that doing these SOO games into AFL territory should be, and probably will be, managed and limited so they don’t overcook things – people will show up for a look at SOO but it’s not something you can expect to see as a regular feature. It’ll be once every 3-5 years… if they push the frequency any more than that then it’ll follow diminishing returns as has already been demonstrated at the MCG.

          Yes the Greenberg comment was in relation to he double header. Agree. But isn’t that kinda a good proxy for what crowds you would expect to see for SOO in Perth… if a double header season opener involving 4 clubs only half sells the stadium then I really don’t like the NRL’s chance of selling out Optus Stadium for a SOO. I reckon he double header will get around 30K and SOO maybe 40K… anyway time will tell, and pretty soon. If the Perth stadium does sell out you can direct me back to this post later to rub my nose in it and tell me how wrong I was.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 10:22am
            spruce moose said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report


            I see where you are getting at, but you’ve clearly not understood the historical context. Firstly, it wasn’t three successive games. It was 1994, 1995 and super league split 1997 when no one was going to footy.

            They held a game in 1994 with a huge crowd. Then they held one in 1995 which still got an impressive 53k considering that both teams were gutted when the QRL/NSWRL refused to pick Super league aligned players.

            The 1997 was a super league affected disaster.

            However, all three games held at Etihad post super league were 50k+ crowds (one even holds the record at 56k) and the MCG crowd of 91k.

            So when you remove the super league years of 1995 and 1997, then there is an extraordinary popularity for the concept in Melbourne.

            There’s been no decline at all. Facts need to take primacy in an argument.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 1:23pm
              GoGWS said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              53K in ‘95 was notable because it was about a 50% drop from the year before. It was not a decent crowd at all. If you were at the ‘94 game, or find articles from that era, you will know the reason for the 50% drop was people who’d turned out in ‘94 were not thrilled by the boring SOO spectacle. Of course every game can be boring, including afl games, but the SOO didn’t do it’s best for hat specific game and quite a few Vics decided to pass it altogether in ‘95.

              Good luck to the NRL. Spread the word and all that… but don’t kid yourself there’s going to be this massive upswell if SOO mania outside NSW or QLD. There won’t be. This is a novelty, always has been and always will. It’s a ‘sometimes’ food – nothing that will end up being on the main sporting menu in Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                RandyM said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                If you know the history of Rugby League in this country, 1995 was when the Super League war broke out and all players who aligned with SL could not participate in the 1995 Origin series including the star studded Raiders and Broncos teams. 1995 – 1998 was a turbulent time for the game and many fans turned away from the sport and potential fans were lost.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 3:13pm
                spruce moose said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                It’s literally like you read nothing of my post GoGWS.

                1995 was the start of the super league war with an effective B team of stars (especially on the queensland side).

                The fact that SOO sold out in it’s three Etihad editions and then a record MCG crowd AFTER the etihad games speaks volumes for your fundamental lack of coherent argument.

                We are talking one game in three years – that is exactly a ‘sometimes’ definition. Get some perspective.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 4:16pm
                Ben said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                Exactly. There is no evidence pointing to Melbourne being overexposed to State of Origin, it will be interesting to see the size of the crowd for game 1 this year.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 7:04pm
                duecer said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                If you get the lead up, advertising and pricing right, I can’t see why it wouldn’t be a sell out.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 10:13pm
                ac said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

                Interestingly NRL does remarkably well in Melbourne. TV for Origin always rate very highly and will be interesting to see the actual Crowd. The Swans get a very decent crowd live at the SCG but AFL has never rated very well in the TV Audience stakes in Sydney for both the Swans or dare I say it GWS. I did say it ! To be fair all the codes have there plus and minus issues. If the SOO does well why not be happy that the NRL has had a win. If the AFL wins the week after that’s great too. All the codes have their individual merits and should be appreciated for their strengths. I am hoping the NRL does okay out of all this. RL as a game has always been put down but continues to prove that it is a survivor.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 11:14am
            Ben said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Yes, which is why the NRL only a schedule an origin match in Melbourne once every three years. Taking origin to different cities in three year cycles ensures that overexposure will not occur. Eventually origin will have one game in NSW, one in QLD and one in another state or country across one series.

            A club game with three of the four teams missing out on the finals the previous year is not comparable to state of origin at all, regardless of the double header feature. Personally I feel that it will be a sell out due to the strong presence of the Rabbitohs and Warriors who play in Perth annually. The Storm played in Perth in 2017 so it should realistically be a crowd over 50k, anything less would be a let down.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 7:12am
      Gilad Goldman said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:12am | ! Report

      The fact that anyone even thinks state of Origin is the “holy grail” of rugby league shows how poorly positioned for growth the game is.

      The sport will never grow out of being a two state game if the premier showcase of the sport only involves QLD and NSW.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 8:44am
        Jitter said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        The pinnacle of the sport only involves 2 teams that are states. No one else is welcome to participate.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 12:48pm
          Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          I love rugby league at a club level, an Origin level, and an international level.

          I would say in Australia (yes, rugby league exists outside Australia), most people see the pinnacle of the game as the Grand Final, not State of Origin.

          The buzz around when my team won final (sadly,back in 2005) was ten times anything I’ve seen around origin.

        • Roar Guru

          February 15th 2018 @ 12:54pm
          Matt H said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

          How is that different from the pinnacle of a sport being a grand final between two clubs? I guess the clubs are different each year.

          • February 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm
            Fred said | February 15th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

            The Warriors, Raiders and Storm are not in NSW or QLD.

            But I said the pinnacle of the sport in Australia, not the sport.

            To me international rugby league is the pinnacle. To Poms the pinnacle might be the Challenge Cup Final or the Super League Final. It is different to different people. Whereas for the AFL, there can only ever be one pinnacle.

            • February 15th 2018 @ 11:50pm
              Peter Phelps said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

              For the Poms it is the Challenge Cup. That is their equivalent of Origin only at club level. The GF is important but ask any fan and they would sooner win the Cup than the GF.

              Wigan fans used to have a saying “Beat St Helens twice and get us to Wembley (Challenge Cup Final) and the year has been a success”

    • February 15th 2018 @ 7:19am
      Jay said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      You are a silly old man.

      NRL gets paid for this. SA economy benefits. Win win.

      Its money thats all.

      Fact: this article was utterly rubbish.

      • Columnist

        February 15th 2018 @ 7:57am
        David Lord said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        Well done Jay, you have added greed to the NRL”expansion” equation.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 7:29am
      JustAnotherVoiceOnTheInternet said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      Seriously David, please consider retirement. All of your articles are just angry ramblings filled with half-truths these days, and I do not understand how The Roar persist with you – actually probably for this very reason, you get people to click and comment.

      Following up your embarrassing Super Bowl article about Tom Brady with this is just setting new lows.

      State of Origin is the very best of rugby league, and makes complete sense to take that to the rest of the country in order to sell the sport.

      • Columnist

        February 15th 2018 @ 9:07am
        David Lord said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        All, repeat ALL, of my articles are just angry ramblings according to you JAVOTI. Obviously your tunnel vision has missed recent columns praising Ellyse Perry, Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Eddie Jones, Jay Weatherald, D’Arcy Short, Jason Day, and Tiger Woods to name just a few.

        If you must write crap, make it the truth.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 9:34am
          JustAnotherVoiceOnTheInternet said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          “If you must write crap, make it the truth.”

          Oh David, the hypocrisy of this statement is palpable. Having a read through the rest of the comments on this post (and the rest of your articles) it appears I am not in the minority, time to throw in the white towel and enjoy retirement

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