One small step – but welcome!

0 Submitted by on Fri, 05 July 2013, 07:22

The draw for the final six rounds of the 2013 premiership contains good and bad news.

The bad news is that Nine is persisting with the nonsense that everyone in Brisbane supports the Broncos so the Broncos have Friday night coverage in five of the last six rounds – and the other match is a Thursday night one. And the NRL seems to be intent on giving in to it!

Unless Nine knows something most fans and commentators don’t know, the Broncos are on the very precipice of missing the finals – and that could come as early as tonight.

Do Brisbane viewers want to have shoved down their throats six prime free to air matches showing a team that has grossly under-performed this season?

Doesn’t Channel Nine, and the NRL, realise that clubs like the Rabbitohs, Storm, and even the Roosters, have huge fan bases in Queensland?

As the finals draw close, surely free to air fans ought to get live free to air coverage of the teams most likely to feature in them?

If the Broncos bomb out tonight, and end up not being in finals contention it will be interesting to see how the ratings trend!

If the Broncos prove me wrong and make the finals I won’t change my stance…….the simple fact is that Queensland fans of Sydney clubs are getting short changed – again!

Other clubs such as the Sharks and Raiders who will get no free to air coverage are entitled to be unhappy. The Sharks and Raiders wont get any free to air coverage. Nor will the Cowboys or the Warriors.

I am never going to win the argument over the extraordinary free to air coverage the Broncos get – but I just feel good repeating my objections to it!

But there is some good news in the draw announcement. The return of Saturday afternoon football! Hooray!

We are to have five 3PM Saturday matches in the last six weeks of the competition. They will be shown live on Fox – and I just hope they turn in excellent ratings figures.

We need to reclaim Saturday afternoon football from the AFL. And we need to realise that the era when league fans were also horse racing fans is significantly diminished if not over.

A live Saturday afternoon match won’t attract big crowds, but it might significantly lift aggregate viewing numbers at a time when they are, at best, stagnant. Clearly the NRL wants to push Thursday night football on free to air.

I support that – but surely it means time is about to run out for the delayed Friday night match which is now a ratings debacle? The game needs maximum viewer numbers.

Surely the delayed Friday night game has had its day? And you have to ask whether the delayed Sunday afternoon game – also losing ratings – is headed the same way?

But let’s be thankful for small mercies – the return of Saturday afternoon rugby league is good news.

We need to hope it is on the agenda when the 2014 draw is determined!



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