It’s fair to say the NRL 2018 season has been one of many ups, and unfortunately just as many downs.
The salary cap issues at Manly won’t go away, the Eels are playing like a second rate NSW Cup side, crowd numbers are sometimes embarrassing and I cannot be the only one who is sick of the referees having just as much influence on results as the players.
The ‘outrage’ has been building and seems to have come to a head as we approach round 21.
We’ve seen petitions for everything, starting from thousands demanding the sacks of certain officials, to a few people even asking for the NRL to award points based on referee howlers.
Calls across social media have gone as far as suggesting a complete NRL fan boycott of round 21 fixtures to send a message.
Just before I get serious, how about those trendsetting north shore fans of the Sea Eagles who boycotted before it was cool? (@suthodan for those Manly fans who want to have a dig … both of you)
I’m hardly someone, like certain sections of the media, who are on the ‘NRL world as we know it is ending’ bandwagon, but I’m not sitting atop an NRL rainbow with Peter Beattie eating ice cream either.
The NRL has some serious issues right now.
The standard of refereeing is terrible. Few will disagree. Just a quick aside I really wish all replays were shown in normal motion. It’s very easy to bag a referee after taking 38 super slow motion looks from different angles.
That said, the bunker is still delivering some head scratching decisions while some simple, obvious decisions even your half blind writer can see in normal time, are being butchered.
The real issues seems to be the appointments. I won’t name names as it’s unfair, but certain referees who should be honing their skills in NSW Cup after shocking errors are currently being given marquee games.
Meanwhile the best referee in the game is being relegated to assisting.
For the record Matt Ceccin and Gavin Badger are the best two referees in the game right now and I will shake my head in disagreement for anyone who suggests otherwise.
Pricing for games, in my opinion, is still too high.
$30 for a patch of dirt at Lottoland on a Saturday afternoon is highway robbery. One day an NRL club will, at the risk of upsetting rusted on members who would probably understand anyways, price tickets according to demand.
A few seasons ago I wrote to Steve Noyce asking how $35 for a GA ticket at Shark Park on a Monday night against the Broncos was fair. He pretty much said I was crazy. The crowd was dead set 4,000 suggesting the demand for tickets probably didn’t justify the asking price.
Regardless, a day out at the footy is expensive. I have a season membership but taking the kids to the game adds up. Big time.
Earlier it was reported, with great hyperbole, that a pie and drink will set you back $25. At Remondis Stadium, the game’s marquee stadium for rugby league, you’re looking between $10 and $12 for the record. Still add that to three $15 tickets (averaged out) an ice cream, and a few beers for dad to remember having to speak to mum, and you’re looking at $100 + for a GA afternoon.
Or you can sit at home and watch in front of the big screen without the kids asking every five minutes who is winning and if they can play on the ipad.
The judiciary continues to deliver decisions that boggle the mind, the Friday evening time slot is dreadful for fans both live and on TV, and NRL officials continue to stick their fingers in their ears and hum show tunes rather than address real issues.
The NRL has it’s problems. No one can deny that.
THAAAAT SAID … There is precisely zero to less than zero chance I will boycotting this weekend’s fixtures, or any weekend’s for that matter.
First off, the NRL off-season is without a doubt the most painful five or so months of every year. Without the football I have to interact with love ones. Yuk!
But on a serious note, the NRL already has it’s billion dollar TV deal. It has it’s thousands of memberships and it’s huge TV figures.
Plus, Manly vs Penrith in an all-Sydney clash on a beautiful Saturday afternoon was outdrawn across Sydney by a NSW Cup clash. If that’s not an embarrassing crowd figure then well, I doubt a few disgruntled fans who’ve probably already paid for memberships anyways missing a game will send a huge message.
To their credit Todd Greenberg and Peter Beattie have committed to a Q&A session at Allianz Stadium before the Roosters vs Cowboys clash.
The cynic in me asks why the game they chose will be a game that will be lucky to draw 8,000, less than five minutes walk from NRL headquarters, but still, at least they will face the music.
I’ll be watching the NRL action as usual, but maybe I’ll boycott the Q&A session instead.
For the record I don’t know what the answer re any of the big NRL questions are right now, but boycotting a game this weekend probably isn’t the top of my suggestion list either.