Normally the Bulldogs hosting the Roosters would be a big game. Especially when you consider where both teams are on the competition ladder and that Sonny Bill Williams was making his return after walking out on the Bulldogs all those years ago.
Instead, the Friday night clash between these two clubs felt like an afterthought. It felt like two teams going through the motions in a game that had no buildup and that was missing most of its big name players.
With both teams missing a few State Of Origin players each, we didn’t get a chance to see these two teams put their best foot forward in this match. With everyones attention focused on next Wdnesday nights State Of Origin match, we can’t even say this game got the full attention of the Rugby League viewing public.
The National Rugby League is a fantastic competition with teams spread across the Australian eastern seaboard and in Auckland. It just seems stupid that for two months of the year we degrade the quality of the competition and serve up less than the best.
Surely Rugby League can come up with three stand alone representative weekends that could feature television content that revolves around playing State Of Origin on a Saturday or Sunday night? Whether we have Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand playing games, a couple of days of Rugby League 9’s competition….anything has to be better than what we are seeing at the moment.
With all the new money that has come into the game through the new broadcasting agreement, Rugby League has the ability to try things that are good for the game. Any change to the way the NRL season is set up would need to be given the green light by broadcasters. They paid for mid week State Of Origin football and they will need to be convinced they would get bigger ratings when it comes to switching to an alternative. Ive no doubt that with a bit or work the NRL could put together three weekends worth of content that would replace these half hearted club matches we are currently seeing during State Of Origin time.
For the record the Roosters beat the Bulldogs 20-18 in a game that didn’t reach any great heights. While the game finished up being close, the Bulldogs really came home with a wet sail and needed a miracle in the last minute to beat the Roosters. A miracle that didn’t happen. Also of note, Sonny Bill Williams sore arse didn’t stop him from taking part in the match.