SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 03: Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys and National Rugby League Acting Chief Executive Andrew Abdo arrive a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on September 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'Landys has revealed kick-off time for State of Origin matches will be on the discussion agenda at end of year meetings.

Kick-off for Origin matches has gradually become later and later in recent years.

While 'kick-off bingo' was a favourite of rugby league fans on Origin night in years gone by, the start times have moved closer to their advertised time recently.

It's the advertised time though which V'Landys and the commission have a problem with.

All three games will move back to a Wednesday night next year, with a 17th club forcing the NRL season to expand to 26 rounds thanks to a bye being included in every week of the regular season, however, 8:10pm (AEST) start times for the mid-week fixtures, and finish times of around 10pm (AEST) could be a thing of the past.

Speaking to News Corp, V'Landys acknowledged that Channel 9 - as rights holders - will still have a significant say in the timing of Origin kick-off, but the aim of the NRL must be to make it a kid-friendly game.

“When you sell broadcast rights, you have to balance your partners commercial rights and looking after the fans,’’ V’landys said.

“We respect Nine’s commercial opportunities that come with showcasing State of Origin and Mike Sneesby (CEO of Nine) in particular, has been a fantastic partner to work with.

“But without fans, there is no game and I certainly want to look after the fans. I’ve said for a long time we want a kid-friendly time and we’ll certainly be discussing it."

While Wednesday night Origin would make it impossible to start the game at a far earlier time, it's believed that the NRL will at the very least push for 7:50pm (AEST) kick-off times, as they are on Thursday and Friday evenings, although even earlier could be preferable from a family point of view.

1 COMMENT

  1. 7:50 instead of 8:10 makes no difference. The only way to get the games at a “kid-friendly” time (ie starting no later than 6:00pm) is probably to switch them from mid-week to weekend fixtures. Channel 9 would likely be unhappy with that – it makes a significant change to what it thought it was buying.

    To do the “right-thing” by broadcasters and supporters, the sensible approach would be for the NRL to:
    a) canvass what days and times supporters would prefer to see the matches played (rather than just guess !)
    b) build that into the negotiations with the broadcasters for the next NRL contract.

    Speaking of broadcasters, am I the only one who is underwhelmed by the radio coverage of rep round? I searched for a call for NZ v Tonga today – two of the top four teams in the world, not an obscure Queensland Cup stoush.

    No MMM, no 2GB, just some crappy ABC or “NRL’s own”. I hope they get their act together for the world cup.

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