Why the grumpy old men of rugby league can’t keep baby in the corner any longer

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

There is so much happening in rugby league it isn’t funny. What a time to be alive. State of Origin II, England versus New Zealand in Denver, Women’s State of Origin and the return of Tonga.

And these aren’t even first priority if you’re from Fiji, Samoa or Papua New Guinea.

Oh there’s also the announcement that Suncorp Stadium will host the very first NRL Magic Weekend in 2019 where all eight games will be played at the same venue on the same weekend.

Wait, what about the news that Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos are close to signing off on a historic Test against the fairy tale story of the 2017 World Cup – the Mate Ma’a?

Or that we’re winning (belting) the rival codes in the television ratings war?

Perhaps we can discuss the refreshing change atop the NRL premiership ladder?

Nah.

It’s all too much for some.

The grumpy old men of rugby league don’t like change.

Forget this weekend. Pack it all up. We’re going home. Back to Sydney to watch Eastern Suburbs and Balmain.

We were right. There’s so much happening in rugby league it really isn’t funny. Sorry America, the Test match has been cancelled. Sorry ladies, no primetime Friday night football for you. Sorry Tonga. Your heroes aren’t playing, anymore. Sorry Brisbane, you can’t possibly host a Magic Weekend ahead of Sydney. Yep, it’s over. How dare rugby league spread its wings?

Origin II is this Sunday night and the New South Wales Blues are on the verge (again) of wrestling back the Shield (again). There will be 85,000 fans packed into ANZ Stadium and possibly the largest TV audience rugby league has ever seen. Yet some want it back on a Wednesday despite its headline billing on a weekend that showcases OTHER representative teams too. Some want afternoon Origin. Sorry guys, ratings are and should be the top priority when it comes to State of Origin. Some only want Sydney and Brisbane to host games. Wait until they take the game to Auckland, London or Hong Kong. Blasphemous!

Someone on Twitter questioned why the women’s State of Origin clash isn’t being played as a curtain raiser on Sunday night. It may have something to do with giving these athletes the opportunity to play exclusively on a standalone Friday night? In primetime?

Then there’s England and New Zealand playing in Colorado. Yes, Colorado. That Colorado, the one in the United States of America. Home of the Denver Broncos, Eric Cartman and the “medicinal use” of marijuana. But instead of the excitement of seeing Issac Luke leading the Haka or our (yes, our) Burgess brothers single-handedly putting league on the map in the USA* with every bone crunching collision – some much prefer worry about the few negatives.

*Don’t come at me haters.

Oh and Magic Weekend?

Well it’s this really cool concept we’ve “copied” from England where you play all that round’s games at one venue. The first NRL version will be played in Brisbane. Some argued it should be played in Adelaide or Perth. Fact is, it will get to Adelaide and it will get to Perth. For now, the NRL is patiently waiting to see just how many millions of dollars rolls into the local Queensland economy from interstate fans before it puts forward a proposal to South Australia or Western Australia.

The great man Phil Gould is one totally against Magic Weekend in Brisbane.

But he doesn’t want it shifted to a rugby league outpost to grow the game. He wants it back in Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

Yeah, nah. Let’s not and say we did.

Sorry rugby league. You’re just not pretty enough to share with the rest of the world.

Or maybe, just maybe, rugby league itself isn’t the problem.

@woodward_curtis  

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