Off the Wall

About the only record tonight's state of origin game could set would be a record score - and for the sake of the game let's hope that one is not set!

It won't be a record crowd - though it will probably be a "record" low in the period since the Olympic Stadium became the home of Origin games in Sydney.

It certainly won't be a television ratings record - and we have more than just the "dead rubber" status to thank for that.

I have no idea how much rugby league, and its sponsors and partners, have poured into the game in Melbourne, and Victoria, in the last decade or so.

We know that News Limited basically tips its dividend from its half share ownership in the NRL into propping up the Melbourne Storm - around $8 million a year.

Then there are the development grants, junior support, and so on...not to mention the leg up the game's administrators have given Melbourne by staging test matches and origin matches there.

It probably runs into $150 million $200 million over the last small contribution by any measure.
The Victorian Government, to its credit, has reciprocated by giving the game, and soccer and union, a magnificent stadium.

But today you have to ask - is it all worthwhile?

The key to building a stronger fan base, and sponsor base, in Melbourne is media exposure. As the game's free to air broadcast rights holder, Channel Nine has the principal role in that regard.

It is a role Nine has consistently neglected