16 hours ago
NRL, AFL to battle it out in Brisbane
Bring it on!.
That was Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen's blunt response to Friday night's collision of codes.
The Brisbane Lions will host an AFL blockbuster against arch rivals Collingwood at the Gabba on the same evening the Broncos host the Cowboys in a game to help celebrate 100 years of rugby league.
Cullen says the NRL derby was scheduled last August while Lions chief executive Michael Bowers said months ago it would be "absolute madness" if the two games clashed.
The Lions believe they could beat last year's Gabba high of 34,000 recorded against Geelong while the Broncos are tipping a roll up of 40,000 or more at Suncorp Stadium.
"We'll take them (Lions) on," said Cullen, but it'll probably cost us something," he said.
"I'm not sure what you can put on it, three or four thousand fans but it will cost them that much too and I think we'll kill the TV ratings.
The AFL, which finalised its draw - including specific TV coverage - late last year, believe their winter rivals could avoid such clashes by releasing their draw for the full season, not four or five dates at a time to suit TV deals.
"That date (to play the Cowboys) was out last August," defended Cullen.
Lions coach Leigh Matthews wasn't keen to get dragged into a debate about who was at fault for scheduling two huge games, suggesting the codes should do what was best for them.
"Collingwood games are always big," said Matthews.
"You have the big crowd, big interest, that love em or hate em attitude which is what Collingwood is all about."
Meanwhile, Cullen said Friday night games were not great financially for his club and they have several in the first half of the season.
"Friday night's are not that good for us any more because if people want to see two games on TV they don't come to the match," he said.
"If they want to watch the second game they stay at home or go to their pub or club.
"Our Friday night crowds were down last year and our fans were telling us if they come to our game they miss seeing an extra game.
"They're not, but we'll still get more to our game than they'll (the AFL) get to theirs."
Cullen said the crowd would be affected if fullback Karmichael Hunt was suspended for a careless high tackle and failed to line up for a clash with Cowboys star Matt Bowen.