ORIGIN ECLIPSES NRL WEEKEND
I WON’T be watching any NRL games this week.
For those who know me well you’ve likely sprayed your cornflakes to every corner of your kitchen as you read this, but enough’s enough.
For years I didn’t subscribe to the theory that stand alone weekends for State of Origin would wash with fans who crave their NRL fix every weekend.
But Origin has made club football such a non event it’s clear that less is sometimes more.
This Saturday night the Melbourne Storm will play a home match against Parramatta without six of their big names, while the Eels are unaffected.
The game still expects Storm fans to cough up their hard earned and go to the game.
Then there’s the TV networks who have paid millions to broadcast the NRL, but have to deal with lower ratings as fans switch off in droves during this period.
I covered the Cowboys’ clash against Melbourne at AAMI Park earlier this year. Despite nine players missing through Origin duty, it was an absorbing contest decided in golden point.
But in no other sport, or entertainment industry for that matter, do they expect fans to settle for a second- rate product, while forking out the same amount of cash for the privilege.
For some reason one of the biggest rivalries in the game, Souths and Roosters, was scheduled for last night when the latter was without a host of Origin stars.
How much have you heard from the media this week to create hype about what is always one of the marquee matches of the year? The sound of crickets. The crowd will be smaller as a result as the NRL gets swallowed whole by the State of Origin monster which consumes everything in its path.
The fans are the game’s most valuable commodity and they deserve better than is being served up for them this weekend.
Canterbury can’t score any points to save themselves and face the bottom of the table Knights. We’ve already spoken about the foolhardiness of scheduling Souths and Roosters last night, while the full strength Eels should make short work of a heavily depleted Storm.
The only half attractive match in the four- game round is PenrithManly as it is only slightly affected by Origin selections.
The NRL is taking steps to minimise the Origin drain next year, with the introduction of a stand- alone fixture for one game in a shortened 25- round competition with just one bye per team.
Like a smoker trying to wean himself off the habit with nicotine patches, hopefully this is the first step toward all three games enjoying free air.
Tomic sells many short
THERE’S been plenty of opinions expressed about Bernard Tomic’s post match antics at Wimbledon, where he admitted he was “bored” during his first round loss to Mischa Zverev. No matter how passionate you are about your job, we’ve all been guilty of not putting in 100 per cent effort every time we front up to the office.
Professional athletes don’t owe the fans success.
If they want to go through the motions, collect a $ 60,000 first round loser’s cheque and move on, it doesn’t really affect us.
But what Tomic and others like him must remember is their indifference and lack of application does hurt many others.
Let’s start with the sponsors who pay good money for Tomic and company to spruik their products.
Already racquet sponsor Head has terminated its deal with the Australian, and rightly so.
Then there’s the Tennis Australia officials and coaches who have poured hours of time and truckloads of cash into developing Tomic’s undoubted talent over many years.
The return for their investment? A wave of international negative publicity, when that funding could have gone to a player hellbent on getting the best out of themselves.
Finally, there’s the fans who paid money to watch him play Zverev.
They have every right to expect a contest.
If you went to a play and the actors fumbled their lines and couldn’t be bothered, you’d be outraged.
Sport, also a part of the entertainment industry, shouldn’t be any different.