The Rugby League calendar is a busy one. With the NRL 9’s, the NRL All Star Game, pre season trial matches, the World Club Challenge, the NRL season proper, the State Of Origin series, end of season test matches, and that’s not even taking into account the European Challenge Cup, the Rugby League season is jam packed full of events.
As a lover of Rugby League I tend to think the more Rugby League we play, the better. However every so often I get the feeling that some events just don’t capture the Rugby League supporter base like you hope they would.
The World Club Challenge probably heads the list of events that the vast majority of Rugby League supporters either don’t care about at all, or only have a passing interest in. That makes me wonder, has the NRL 9’s fallen into this category?
Having played the NRL 9’s in Auckland, the game got a bit of a boost with good coverage in New Zealand surrounding the event. Having mothballed the NRL 9’s, the game chose to play a Rugby League 9’s World Cup at Parramatta Stadium in 2019. The event was a fun one, I attended both days, but the crowds weren’t as big as many would have hoped and scheduling games for the Friday evening and Saturday was nothing short of ridiculous.
Still, the international aspect of the Rugby League 9’s World Cup made it an exciting event that had international relevance and saw some pretty good games played. Like finding the very best french online casinos, you’re looking for excitement and a night of great entertainment.
So what does the NRL 9’s offer up?
Personally, seeing only NRL clubs take part in the event is a huge letdown. These are clubs we get to see play from March right the way through to October. The NRL could choose to do something a bit different, add a bit more to the event. Instead NRL clubs locked out any other competitors, and when you couple that with the silly competition set up and once again scheduling games on a Friday and Saturday….you have to wonder what the NRL is thinking.
Sure this is an “Event” the game can sell to different regions, and its a way the game can look to expand interest, but how many people in Perth were ready to watch NRL 9’s football at 5pm on a Friday afternoon in sweltering heat….and how many wanted to commit after the previous day the ARL Chairman said this event would not be a springboard to NRL expansion into Perth.
While the NRL supporters that have taken an interest in the competition talk about being happy to at least see some football on their TV, the weight that this competition carries is very low. Winning the NRL 9’s is nice…. but that’s about it. Not winning the competition feels like it carries no consequence.
Can you name all of the teams that have even won the NRL 9’s?
Rugby League is a physically demanding sport, and we ask a lot of our players to be at their best from February to November in some cases. With that in mind, should we be cramming any events into the calendar that don’t enthral the Rugby League supporter base?
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The Rugby League 9’s World Cup was something a bit special. The NRL 9’s….it feels like a marketing ploy. If it is, fair enough, but if the end goal isn’t to play the NRL 9’s in expansion areas where they game is looking to add NRL clubs in the near future, I just don’t see the point.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com