Off the Wall

The NRL is professing happiness with the grand final television numbers - even though they are slightly down on last year in the major markets, but up in Melbourne.

Not surprisingly, the AFL grand final scored significantly higher nationwide numbers, largely thanks to the higher Melbourne audience watching Collingwood and Geelong in the AFL grand final.

We were always going to struggle when we had the Manly Sea Eagles up against the New Zealand Warriors! But there is not much the NRL can do about that.

The NRL can probably get away with claiming a reasonable audience - but not much more.

What is cannot get away with, nor can the premiers, is the nonsense about the so called feud between the Stewarts and David Gallop. This one has lasted longer than "Blue Hills", and has been significantly more boring!

It should never have got to this stage, and surely, surely, it must now end?

But maybe it won't - until exactly what Brett Stewart said to David Gallop on the stage is known.

We have to hope that it was a pleasant exchange - because if it wasn't then both sides are again the loser.

The new Independent Commission needs to ensure that such sagas are not tolerated anywhere near as this one has been.

The best team on the day/night won...but the Warriors were worthy contenders and when you look at the depth in the club on show yesterday the Warriors day to win the GF will sure arrive soon.

The pre-match entertainment had one thing going for it - it had to be better than what the AFL served up, and it was. But for all the hype, I thought the parade of retiring NRL players, led by great players such as Darren Lockyer, Mark Gasnier and Andrew Ryan, was profoundly disappointing.

It looked more like a marketing stunt for a brand of four wheel drive vehicles than an appropriate farewell for some outstanding servants of the game.

The NRL deserves one up the bracket for that.

The lead up to the grand final was reasonable, though genuine fan/community involvement could do with a hard looking at in the off season. It is one area the AFL does shade us on.

In summary, the grand final won't go down in the history of the game as among the best, but was probably a reasonable culmination to a good season.

And in these challenging times that is probably the best we can hope for.

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