NRL180: A Breakdown of Round One by @ItsMitchell180

We are launching a new segment today on 26 Rounds with our resident “The Other 15” correspondent, Mitch.

He’s a fan of NRL360, as are a lot of us, and we thought we’d try to replicate that in print form, only with much less Ikin. As in, none at all.

There’s also only one guy on the panel, so you may as well halve that 360. And that guy on the panel refers to himself as Mitchell 180.

You see where we’re going here?

So without further ado, here’s the first of the weekly installment of NRL 180, featuring Twitter’s favourite contrarian, @ItsMitchell180.

NRL180: A breakdown of Round One

by @ItsMitchell180

Wow, talk about a #crisis!

Is it safe to come out yet? Has the NRL been disbanded yet after #crowdgate?

Surely this is the end. Actually, let’s not wait for the official announcement that the NRL is no more: let’s pack up stumps, ask for a compassionate release from rugby league, and pull a Folau and give AFL and rugby union a try.

Good grief.

Some comments I’ve seen since Thursday have been quite ridiculous — and don’t get me started on this constant “code wars” nonsense.

Yes, we had a couple of disappointing crowds on the weekend but the hysteria over them is, well, hysterical. It’s as if rugby league has been averaging NFL-type crowd numbers over the past 50 years.

Newsflash: it hasn’t.

Opening the season on a Thursday definitely worked last year and the year before, but holding the 2013 opener out at ANZ Stadium was always doomed. And while I’m in the pro-Dave Smith camp, he might have misread the feeling of fans towards ANZ stadium after a few shockingly-good crowds out there in 2013.

Permanent placement at ANZ for future games?

Permanent placement at ANZ for future games?

An 8.05pm (the official time, not sure what the official Channel 9 time is) kick off on a week night is definitely too late. Taking the TV deals out of it, that absolutely has to change if Thursday night returns in 2015 — especially holding it 45 minutes from the CBD.

As for Friday night, calling a game a “blockbuster” doesn’t mean 40,000 fans will automatically turn up. Even accounting for Ben Barba’s return to face his old club, the Broncos in their current form are simply a non-drawing team in Sydney.

Having said that: it was an improvement of roughly 7,000 on last year’s corresponding crowd.

No kudos for Dave Smith though, I gather?

“But what about the falling TV ratings” you ask? Well, Manly versus Melbourne managed to draw in 313,000 viewers on Fox Sports.  Last year’s best rating in round one was 301,000.

Any kudos for Dave Smith on this result?

And you can’t blame Smith for the Channel 9 ratings. After Foghorn Leghorn reared his random, unexpected head on Thursday night I was close to switching off my TV, and I am a league disciple.


I implore everyone to look at the reasons for the drop in crowds in round one rather than simply seeing smaller numbers and announcing the game is in #crisis: a blockbuster out west for two inner-Sydney clubs on a Thursday night, and no games in Brisbane, Newcastle or Auckland’s Eden Park. 

With all that in mind, are we really surprised?

Quick takeaways for the round

1. Greg Inglis looks freakishly good.


2. The Broncos desperately need a halfback. Does Anthony Griffin have Chris Sandow’s number?

3. The injury crisis at the Knights will literally be their Achilles heel.

4. Like Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread in the middle of the night, Cam Smith stole a victory for the Storm”


“Lock Cam Smith away for 20 years!” – Manly fans.

[A cultural reference from something other than Seinfeld or The Simpsons?!?! Colour me dazzled! — JJ.]

5. Can we clone Jonathon Thurston?

6. The Dragons scored 44 points? You’re joking, right?

7. Deja vu struck the Warriors at Parramatta.

8. Monday night’s refereeing pretty much summed up the round. Actually, I better double check that comment. *draws square in the air*

Check out more of Mitch’s musings here.


5 responses to “NRL180: A Breakdown of Round One by @ItsMitchell180

  1. Were there any games not in Sydney? Seriously it was like the game had gone back in time with all games on in Sydney, yet at ridiculous times and venues.
    The warriors would of sold out Eden park if there first game was there yet after getting smashed by parra and the opening of the NRL over who knows what they’ll get this weekend.. Same with Newcastle.
    Crowds will continue to be down if thurs and Monday nights continue, I mean 815pm on a school night in the middle of no where..yeh that’s smart, and the NRL means national not having 7 out of 8 matches in Sydney.
    Whoever organised the R1 fixtures should be gone, it’s beyond belief how bad the scheduling was for a professional sport.


    • Yep! But remember: “it was a great weekend of footy in Sydney!”

      Bloody hell, three games at ANZ? One on a Thursday??


    • I think the NRL got too excited by last years thursday night and round 26 souths/roosters crowd. Crowd culture is a #5yearplan with NRL wanting a 20k average by 2017, prices, locations, times etc are a big factor for Sydney crowds. Brisbane would get 40k…Eden Park 40k…both grounds used when NRL attracted record round 1 numbers. Gotta say 11k for Penrith was one of the most disappointing for me.


      • Yeah same here. A lot of hype around the club and their fans still can’t make it out there. They say the Roosters have no fans — I give you exhibit A in “Teams that have less”.

        They have a club that stretches out to the mountains! Have you been to Penrith? It’s like a half hour drive end to end!

        Very disappointed in that crowd, but maybe it’s juts par for the course out there now.


        • Just imagine if Penrith had to play out of ANZ!! #crisis
          10k members but a 11k crowd in a ‘friendly’ timeslot, Gus has a lot of work to do to get crowds there. Which always makes it a bit ironic when people complain about big stadiums but suburban grounds still only get 10-12k


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