The major talking point of the 2019 NRL draw was … well everything.
Fans of each club took to social media to describe how they were prepared for undefeated seasons, while other fans of the very same clubs focused on perceived unfairness in the draw.
I LOVE RUGBY LEAGUE!!!
As usual the glamour sides dominated the free to air games, while of course there are teams who drew the short straw in terms of playing the likes of the Roosters and Storm twice, while only playing the perceived easier fixtures once.
For what it is worth I think the NRL, in the main, got the 2019 draw right. It’s by far the most balanced draw I’ve seen and despite a few blocks of back to back to back away/home games, it’s just about as fair as it could possibly be.
I am loathe to be critical of the game. We have paid employees of major websites and publications who are excellent at that, but I’m going to break my own rule here.
I think the NRL really missed an opportunity with it’s so called ‘Magic weekend’.
I’ve long said I would have preferred the game take an entire round of fixtures to the bush, or Perth Stadium, to help grow the game, but the decision was made to host Round 9 at the country’s premier rugby league venue.
Truthfully the stadium should be jam packed for Saturday and Sunday’s fixtures. It most likely will be.
That said, more could, and should, have been done to make the weekend special … MAGIC!!!
Titans vs Sharks on Thursday night?
Ok, as a Sharks fan I’m excited by any fixture containing the likes of Valentine Holmes and young Matthew Moylan, but this is not a marquee game.
Sure, the Titans are the closest ‘away’ side to ‘host’ their game at Suncorp, but this is a side who routinely fails to fill half it’s stadium on the holiday coast.
Two out of the past three Titans vs Sharks fixtures have seen Shark dominated crowds at CBUS. Although Titans officials will say otherwise, the Sharks heavily outnumbered Titans fans in 2015.
It will be lucky to break 12,000 on a Thursday night. Plenty of Sharks fans live in Brisbane, and it may legitimately be another 50/50 split.
Surely a Sharks vs Storm game was the game to go. Two sides who HATE each other going at it on a Thursday night. 20,000 plus guaranteed.
There won’t be many neutrals who move heaven and earth, and risk a late start Friday, to see the Titans play the Sharks.
Friday night they’ll sell out based on the Broncos’ presence (hilariously as the away side) vs the Sea Eagles. Easy sell. It wouldn’t matter who you put on the Friday night.
How about Saturday?
Dogs vs Knights? Yuk.
Warriors vs Dragons. Why?
Storm vs Eels? Okay, the presence of Cameron Smith and other Queensland players will draw a crowd. I like it, but there’s hardly a rivalry or anything that makes this game must watch.
Sunday sees the Roosters and the Raiders slug it out before the Bunnies and Cowboys bring the curtain down on a ‘thrilling’ weekend of fixtures.
You can bet your entire life savings now that I’ve said otherwise that this will be the greatest round of NRL action in the competition’s history, but the fixtures hardly have me scrambling to have leave approved.
For the record I may be there, but purely for the Thursday night game.
I might stay Friday. Be fun to see the Tigers vs Panthers open up Suncorp. I may have just talked myself into a two night trip.
I very, VERY much doubt I’ll be there for the four days of action though.
Sharks vs Storm. Broncos vs Cowboys. Eels vs Manly. Now you’re talking!!!
The NRL is obviously looking to rely on the concept rather than the overall product in that it’s hoping the chance to see all clubs play over one weekend in one city is a draw.
It may very well be. I can think of worse ways to spend a weekend than in sunny Brisbane in May.
That said, apart from it being ‘magic weekend’ is there anything special about this weekend of games?
Few good games, surely, but I would have STACKED it.
This had the chance to be the Wrestlemania or the Superbowl of NRL, instead it is just … a weekend of games played at Suncorp.
Please let us know below in the comments if you intend on travelling for the four days.