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
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.
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.
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.
(WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!?)
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.
[STFU MITCH! — JJ]
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”
[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*