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TV now owns our game

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Roar Guru
14th October, 2019
34
1101 Reads

A lot of league fans remember times when the main game was played on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

Yes, of course, times change but the same fans will also remember when rugby league was hailed as ‘our game’.

Realistically, the NRL cannot lay claim to that title these days. In a time when its administration wants to attract fans and encourage kids to the play game, ultimately ensuring its future, they seem to have a very obscure way of displaying this.

For example, Thursday night games are played at 8.00pm. At this time of night and on a week day, who has time to take their kids to this fixture when they must attend school the next day and parents have to work?

On grand final day, there were the earlier minor games then a few hours of so-called entertainment before the actual grand final was played at 7.30pm. People want the old days where they could cook up a barbecue, have a few drinks and watch the game in the afternoon.

A lot of people weren’t interested the grand final. One indication was the remark made by a nearby bottle shop manager, who said sales were way down compared to the previous weekend when the AFL grand final was played.

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The weekend games such as the Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks clash that ultimately rounded out the top eight was played at 2.00pm, while a game that had absolutely no bearing on the competition whatsoever was played at 4.00pm.

Through these examples and many others, a lot of league fans have concluded that it is not Todd Greenberg and co. that control rugby league. It’s television.

Everybody knows that any professional sport needs sponsorship, but it should not have an effect where fans prefer to stay at home and watch the game, if at all.

Channel 9 commentators Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler talking.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Fans are also over the commentary – in particular, the free-to-air service where an inner circle group make stupid attempts at humor and drive more people to sign up for pay television.

It’s time for rugby league to find a new free-to-air station where the commentators are actually talking and remarking on the game and not behaving like frustrated comedians.

Finally, and without trying to take anything away from the Roosters’ grand final victory, most fans saw what they thought were two of the worst decisions in grand final history. Unfortunately the standard of refereeing remains terribly inconsistent and unprofessional.

I will never forget the commentary I heard during the very first game of the 2019 season where it was said that the referees were at least letting the game flow. That was the only positive remark I heard regarding refereeing all season.

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I did catch a few games of the British Super League. From a spectator’s point of view, it leaves our game for dead. It’s one referee and he has control of a faster and far more entertaining game than the one Todd Greenberg claims we have here.