Round 26 of the 2014 NRL season was incredible. With so many games that actually meant something, and with so much on the line, the competition had a real buzz about it in the final round of the regular season.
How many games did we watch this season that didn’t really mean much? When we hit the State Of Origin period and our teams start losing or winning games, we all know that winning or losing during Origin doesn’t mean a great deal to our NRL clubs.
When top teams start losing games mid season and they don’t worry because they know their season will sort itself out eventually, we have a problem. Supporters respond by staying at home and not attending games. Hell, this last couple of season a lot of supporters have watched less NRL football on TV at the midway point of the season because they know those games don’t mean a great deal in the grand scheme of things.
So imagine if every game during your clubs season mattered. Imagine if a loss was bad, but two losses in a row could spell disaster for your teams finals chances.
That should be the goal for the NRL. Just playing games for the sake of it isn’t enough for supporters any more. We all have so many entertainment choices that when our club is missing all of its stars and is losing to a bottom of the table team during a State Of Origin week…its so easy to find something more exciting to watch.
Basically, we need to be playing fewer club games and we need to stop devaluing the NRL competition for the middle third of the season. If we were playing 20 rounds in the NRL and we established representative weekends that led into Wednesday night State Of Origin games, that would be a huge step in the right direction.
That way teams wouldn’t be playing 3 rounds of football without most of the games star players being available to them. You wouldn’t end up with two and a half months of football that had almost no baring on who wins the NRL Grand Final.
When the stakes are raised and there is more on the line, people will show more interest. We don’t want to just watch 34 footballers filling out a fixture, we want to see two teams that know they must win a game or it will have dire consequences for their entire season.