Melbourne is set to host next years mid season Test between Australia and New Zealand as well as next years Four Nations tie between Australia and England in a bit coup of the game in Victoria.
The Victorian Government has worked closely with the ARL in recent years to give the game a good presence in Melbourne, with the State attracting a World Cup tie in 2008, a State Of Origin game in 2009 and now at least two of the biggest Test matches in 2010.
This will all occur on the back of the opening of the magnificent 31,500 seat, made for Rugby League venue that will host the Melbourne Storm from now on.
It is fantastic news for the game in Victoria, fantastic for the Storm and shows the growing value of Rugby League biggest events.
Brisbane is expected to host next years Four Nations Final, and negotiations are under way for Auckland to host the Four Nations clash between Australia and New Zealand, meaning Sydney, if it is lucky, may only end up with Australia playing PNG in 2010.
Now as a Rugby League fan, I think its great whats happening in Victoria. Also, having been to Suncorp Stadium for the 2008 World Cup Final, I am already saving for a return journey for the 2010 Four Nations Final, the venue up there is beyond brilliant and deserves the final, especially with the crowds they have got for recent Tests.
I do have a concern though….
How many other sports would fail to cater for the biggest sporting market in Australia?
Sure Sydneysiders have not exactly crawled over shards of glass to get to Rugby League Test matches, or International sporting events of any kind in recent years, but you are still looking at the number one TV market, the number one corporate and sponsorship base, your biggest fan base and the biggest media base.
Is it a smart idea to give Sydney such a cold shoulder?
On top of that, Australia vs Papua New Guinea will not be the biggest drawing game by any stretch of the imagination. Will the ARL make the stupid move and play such a game at the Sydney Football Stadium, or would they look to make sell out a smaller venue such as Parramatta Stadium or even Penrith Football Stadium?
There is also a question mark over where England will face PNG. I’ve already heard one RLIF official say no games will be played in PNG itself, which is a shame, but there is a possibility that a double header may be played at Eden Park in New Zealand with the England vs PNG game leading into the Australia vs New Zealand game.
Its all very interesting to see how they are spreading the games around. One thing that is certain is that next years Four Nations attendances will be very big.
If you go on the 2008 World Cup, the effect New Zealand’s victory had on the game, the previous crowds at the venues mentioned and the money local governments are putting in to promote these games, the 2010 Four Nations could be a big turning point for the Four Nations.
I personally think it will be so well attended that the decision to give England the 2013 World Cup will publicly be seen as the wrong thing to do.
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
Oct 19, 2022 0