Frank-Paul Nu’uausala seems just as flabbergasted by the NRL’s decision to schedule a double-header for the Roosters’ “home” final versus the Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday.
The Roosters now have to share Allianz Stadium with another home team, the Cronulla Sharks — despite finishing first and the Rabbitohs — who get a standalone, prime time Friday night game — finishing second.
It was originally believed the NRL did this due to a scheduling conflict with the AFL and the Swans, but it’s since been revealed that this was the plan all along should the opportunity arise.
Fans are furious, and rightly so — it’s hardly a home game now, more an exhibition of rugby league. And Frank-Paul seems just as pissed.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald:
Nuuausala understands why the fans are angry. ”It’s our home ground, I thought we should be the only game on the day,” he said.
”It wasn’t meant to be and there’s nothing we can do about it, but I thought we should’ve just got our own match instead of sharing it.
”Is it good for rugby league? Yeah, it’s good to have a double header. I thought it was our home final. The Rabbitohs are playing on Friday and they get their own match. I thought we should have too.”
Following a year in which the Roosters are the most penalised team in the NRL, and have lost Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Luke O’Donnell to suspension at points this year despite similar incidents going not just unpunished, but uncharged, Roosters fans are fed up with the NRL if social media is a barometer to go by.
And those fans are already working out ways to show the NRL how annoyed they truly are.
Davo Baird came up with the novel idea of chanting Easts chants during the Sharks-Cows clash at 3.30pm as an eff-you to the schedulers:
I like this idea: claim the stadium early, because we know other fans won’t travel, and show the league the pride of the supporters who are understandably miffed at the decision.
This writer attended the Cowboys-Sea Eagles clash two years ago where roughly 13,000 fans attended — it was an embarrassment to the code and fans were just as pissed they couldn’t watch the game at Brookie. And you know what? They should have been pissed.
The chants throughout that game were “we should be at Brookie” and without question they would have sold out that game had they done so. the paltry crowd was an embarrassment to the NRL which had just handed down the edict that all semi-final games would be played at either Allianz or ANZ if they were Sydney teams who had the home semis.
But that game has led to the knee-jerk reaction of a double-header which has also right-royally pissed Roosters fans who average crowds of 20,000 this season, and will force many of those fans to miss out should the NRL sell all the tickets and those who are attending having to pay extra even though they are only interested in one of the games.
Danny Ramirez — who everyone seems to think is this humble writer — came up with an idea of his own:
A novel idea as well, and one that could truly force the NRL to be flexible with its scheduling. We already know that Manly fans are reluctant to travel en masse, while Sharkies fans might also struggle to make it. And Cowboys fans are all in Queensland.
(By the way: are Sharks fans miffed? They have a 22,000 seat stadium yet they now have to travel from the shire…Imagine Roosters fans having to travel to ANZ instead of Allianz after earning the right to a home semi? They’d be incredibly pissed!)
So in either game, the NRL faces the potential prospect of less than a half-full stadium — especially after alienating Roosters fans with the decision, with many of those fans who have been snapping up the majority of the bays so far electing not to attend the Sharks-Cows clash.
That’s going to look great on TV.
There have been arguments for and against the double header, but one rarely made is this: why did they not move the first-placed Roosters game to the Friday night, and the Bunnies game to the Sunday?
Twitter chap and Simpsons connoisseur @itsMitchell180 pointed out that the AFL already had ANZ Saturday, and the NRL had Friday– but isn’t ANZ Stadium flexible enough that it could move the Bunnies clash to the free Sunday?
It smacks of favouritism to a Rabbitohs squad that finished second in the year getting their own home final, while the minor premiers are bundled with teams 5 and 8 and play at the ridiculous slot of 6.30. Has there been any games at 6.30 this year?
I hope Roosters fans turn up to the game in droves and they have already been snapping up tickets like hot cakes. Its an opportunity to show opposing fans what we are capable of and there are two options:
1) As Davo mentioned above, we can really claim that stadium and show the 3.30pm audience it’s our house with the Chookpen in full voice — even when they aren’t playing; or
2) As Danny said, you can ignore the first game and have a few drinks at Fox instead, leaving a double-header half empty until the Roosters clash — which also sounds good.
Over to you, Chook fans.