Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
25 hours ago
Does anyone find the ?reasoning? that the Preliminary Final between the Dragons and Tigers game not being able to be moved from Aussie to Telstra Stadium leave a little to be desired?
The big reason being churned out by the powers that be is that tickets had already been bought by Parramatta and St.George-Illawarra fans in the week after the qualifying finals. But as it turns out if the NRL had any foresight whatsoever they would have realised that the more lucrative game in terms of spectator attendance was on the Dragons side of the Finals Draw.
Once the qualifying finals were done and dusted we had the Dragons seeded in the draw with the Tigers and Broncos and the Eels with the Cowboys and Storm. Now the NRL knew this before tickets went on sale for either preliminary final, and any administrator with a fleeting footballing interest would have realised that a preliminary final featuring the Dragons and Tigers/Broncos would draw far heavier than the potential Eels and Cowboys/Storm game. Even if the Tigers had lost to the Broncos, the fact they potentially could have faced the Dragons in one of the preliminary finals should have been enough of a convincing argument to switch the schedule when it could have been tweaked.
It would not have meant moving the game to Telstra Stadium on the Saturday night, rather just shifting the match to the Sunday afternoon and staying at Telstra. That presents absolutely no impact on any infrastructure involved and up until the end of Round 26 (heck not until after the qualifying finals) no Dragons or Eels fan could be 100% sure their team would feature in either game during the third week of the finals.
I?m yet to see a reason why this could not have been changed the Sunday evening of the first week of the Finals.
Yet all this week we?ve been force-fed a number of now legitimate reasons why the game switch could not happen. But the point here is a bit of foresight and intelligence would have seen the NRL make everyone happy: Telstra, Aussie, the fans and anybody else who claimed to be inconvenienced by any move. All simply by looking at the Finals draw and realising that a Dragons-Tigers match up would draw far bigger and passionate crowds than any game the Eels and the Cowboys/Storm could have.
The NRL opened up the possibility of venue switches last year with the move to Dairy Farmers in the second week of the Finals, and that was sold with the ?good for the game? line. A year later we could have had possibly 70,000 at Telstra Stadium for what promises to be a cracking preliminary final and it appears there?s nothing they can do about it... so much for the good for the game stance.
Now this information could have been handy last Sunday week had anybody bothered to listen, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. FTC brings this up now because the very same situation could present itself next year. Especially considering the fact we have a significant number of non-NSW sides in the competition. A little bit of foresight this time next year could see the preliminary final at Telstra sell out if we?ve got another blockbuster of a match up. Because if we?re fair dinkum about it all, next year?s corresponding preliminary final could feature Melbourne and Brisbane and if that game is slated to be played at Telstra ? do you honestly think the NRL would not switch it with a Eels-Tigers game that was marked down to be played at Aussie?
Didn?t think so.
The NRL missed a chance to look like absolute geniuses this year, instead they?ve been openly criticised for what became a situation (in the end) they had little control over. But they could have seen this coming and made a very simple switch of the preliminary finals two weeks ago. And for missing that they deserve the bad press they?ve copped all week.