Off the Wall

There are two messages to emerge from the ratings Channel Nine recorded for the third State of Origin match on Wednesday night.

Even though the total average audience across the five mainland capitals was 20 per cent above the average for the third game when it was last not a decider in 2003, the Sydney figures are a worry.

The Brisbane figures were extraordinary for a game that did not decide the series - equal to the highest ever ratings for an Origin game (tying with the opening game in 2005) with a massive 51.3 per cent share of the viewing audience.

There should be some concern among administrators at the Sydney figure. It averaged 756,000 - a substantial drop from the 899,000 in 2006. Even though it won the night for Nine in Sydney, the decline must be of concern.

In recent weeks, the Nine ratings for the Friday night live coverage and Sunday afternoon replay in Sydney have also been of concern. It might have something to do with atrocious weather, but Sydney NRL match ratings should be strong given the fact that four of the top eight teams in the premiership are Sydney teams.

However, balancing that out is the fact that the 2GB Continuous Call broadcast trounced every other Sydney station on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with the ABC