I love a good crisis and have been prone to enjoying a good dose of hysteria in my time. But by golly, the levels of both hysteria and crisis over the opening five rounds have been, well, in crisis!
“Alarming”, “Concerning”, “Declining”.
These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the crowd numbers over the NRL’s opening few rounds. In fact, even after round four those words were still circulating before Buzz revealed his “draw revolution” which would apparently guarantee big crowds and more derbies in Sydney.
While I do like the idea of a conference system, it won’t guarantee crowds when two Sydney teams face off. If you haven’t noticed already, we have Sydney “derbies” most weeks.
Memberships, prices at the gate and fans’ acceptance of ANZ stadium will all need to improve over the next few years for the NRL to reach their target average crowd of 20K, but on the crisis scale this is a mere “two” compared to the “nine” the media made it out to be.
Let’s be realistic here. Compared to the AFL all the other codes get ordinary numbers. Rugby league crowds over a season have NEVER averaged over 18,000 as a whole — but maybe we just expected big numbers this year because we finally had a CEO who was talking up the game and with a clear plan for the future. The NRL’s hoping to reach that 20K target by 2017, not 2014.
It’s not rocket science to understand improving crowds is not an overnight solution.
Are 2014’s NRL crowds average at best? Yes, but it’s the same rough average they’ve been hovering around for the past nine years. Are the crowd numbers in crisis? No.
It’s going to take a group effort by everyone to take rugby league crowds where they never have been before, but should be.
Soft as hell, and dangerous as hell. The NRL in 2014, apparently.
My other favourite phrases this year are ‘”the game is going soft” and “the game is turning into touch footy”.
These are definitely the “go-to” phrases when a player gets suspended for a shoulder charge. Whether you support the rule change or not, it’s a ludicrous statement — as was the statement last year which Jake reminded me abnout, in which former legends cam out and said that Surgii’s squirrel grip was caused by the banning of the ol’ punch in the nose.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute. First, some Wonka:
After all the soft talk, I saw this gem last week and immediately thought: is hysteria in crisis?
Which is it?
Either the game is soft and completely different to the way it was 10, 30 or 50 years ago, or parents should be talking their kids to mixed martial arts classes for a safer activity.
I’m a tad confused, and I have been praying all week that writers can come to some middle ground and agree on which bloody way the game is in trouble.
I also can’t wait until next week to see which former player is interviewed to let us know how he now doesn’t watch the game or laments how it’s a business.
Heritage Round needs a little help
Men of League is a wonderful organisation and the Men of League Heritage round is great promotion of the great work they do — but it’s fair to say some of the matchups were a bit hit or miss over the weekend.
Because nothing is perfect I doubt there will be eight matchups that make “heritage” sense, because a team like the Titans has only been the comp seven years and Gold Coast teams overall for less than 20.
Regardless, I thought I should have a dig at creating some matchups that make a modicum of sense. Here are some clashes based on teams being brought into the competition in the same year, famous grand final battles and of course the Raiders v Titans:
Broncos v Knights- New kids of 1988
Cowboys v Warriors – New kids of 1995
Sharks v Panthers – New kids of 1967
Parramatta v Bulldogs – Clubs of the 1980’s
Roosters v Tigers – Foundation Cup clash (3 clubs involved in the game since 1908)
Souths v Dragons – At the SCG it just makes sense
Melbourne v Manly – Played in *grand finals* and great rivals
Raiders v Titans – Last 2 teams left
Round 5 Takeaways
Not ready to say that Brad Arthur is the new supercoach, but they are definitely a different football team.
Mini Roosters attack in a slump. [Ya think? — JJ]
Vintage Warriors just cost Matt Elliott his job.
Rain, rain, go away, and the fans will turn up?
Love seeing footy at the SCG, but this should have been an afternoon game.
Melbourne in a mini-slump that should be somewhat fixed by wingers who don’t rush in.
Best ambush since Matty Johns v Robbie Farah.
Knights continue the tipping woes.