Off the Wall

In the wash up from the Origin decider there is a mixture of good news and bad news.

Some good news first of all...Origin Three was the most watched Origin game ever - attracting a national average audience of 3.7 million.

Both the national and five capital city average viewing numbers created new records. The national average out rated the 2010 grand final, and all other grand finals in Australian sport last year (including the AFL grand final).

The Brisbane viewing audience of 905,000 was the highest figure for any programme since the current rating system was introduced. The Sydney figures were also strong - and the Melbourne figure was the highest in four years.

Now you would have thought Nine would be deserving of commendation for such an extraordinary outcome...one that could not be better timed.

Not so at all in my view. The sideline interview with Sonny Bill Williams at halftime was appalling. What is even more appalling is that the decision to interview him was made at the highest level at Nine.

Williams ratted on our game. He has gone out of his way to bag it ever since. And on Wednesday night he was draped in a Maroons scarf - yet when he was playing rugby league he said he would like to play for the Blues!

Nine also used the highest rating event on television to promote the Rugby World Cup - which Nine has the rights for.

And what did the NRL do about this appalling business? David Gallop rang "Gyng" to complain. And what has been "Gyng's response? Basically, take a run and jump!

The NRL administration is seen as being far too close to the television rights holder. An outside observer would wonder who runs the game - David Gallop or David Gyngell? I sometimes wonder myself.

And to end on some good news.

Readers will know that I am unimpressed with the proposed Independent Commission membership.

I have been campaigning for someone with a real grass roots connection, and someone with an indigenous heritage or involvement.

Well, in a victory for good sense over politics, the final commissioner will be Chris Sarra - a highly respected indigenous educationalist in Queensland, with a genuine connection with the game.

This is an outstanding appointment which begs the question - why wasn't he an early selection?

But better late than not at all!!!

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