The Penrith Panthers have voiced their concerns about the fact that Parramatta Eels fans have had an extra 24 hours in the race to grab grand final tickets, with officials getting in touch with the NRL about a perceived disadvantage to Panthers fans.
“The Parramatta fans get the jump - a chance to buy seats knowing for certain their team is in the grand final,” Panthers group chief executive Brian Fletcher told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“(Club executive) Matt Cameron was in touch with the NRL about this, because we don’t think it’s fair for the teams who played in the second prelim. It will enable (Parramatta) to have an edge in support too and it’s something that needs to be looked at in seasons to come.
“Ticket sales should be blocked off completely just before the first preliminary final and opened again on the Monday morning.”
The NRL received and addressed Penrith’s complaint, and also spoke with South Sydney. The NRL advised both clubs that a ‘limited allocation’ of tickets was made available after Friday night’s game, and the same number of tickets would make up another limited allocation after the second preliminary final.
The sticking point is the fact that Eels fans have had access to both extra allocations in hopes of securing their tickets, while Penrith have had just the one. Despite all their recent success, the Panthers have also not won a premiership in front of their home fans since 2003.
The NRL has also advised that both competing clubs will get an exclusive window to an extra allocation on Monday before the tickets are released to the general public. This process is in keeping with previous years.
South Sydney expressed no objection to the NRL’s clarification.