Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The season got off to a great start last night - but what a pity that Queensland fans were treated with contempt once again.
Because of daylight saving, the game kicked off around 6.45PM Queensland time. What did Channel Nine do? Persist with its clapped out current affairs programme - and show the game in Queensland on an hour delay.
That allowed it to run more ads of course.
But it also re-enforced the absolute need for the Australian Rugby League Commission (IC) to end the one channel monopoly of free to air broadcasts, and introduce its own "use it or lose it" policy when it comes to live broadcasts.
There was enormous Queensland interest in the game. The Wayne Bennett role, and that of Maroons such as Darius Boyd. And a game being played before almost 30,000 fans on a Thursday night!
And the indisputable fact that the Dragons have an enormous following in Queensland.
But let's put that aside and talk about some good old fashioned loyalty! Brisbane fans deliver top ratings for Channel Nine every Friday night during the season.
Sometimes they absolutely trounce their rivals. And they are currently paying three fifths of not much for the right to do so!
Surely, for the opening match of the season, a one off Thursday night game, Nine could have dumped a couple of average rating programs and given Queensland listeners live coverage?
Now there will be live coverage of the Broncos v Eels game tonight. BUT not out of some sense of loyalty to fans - it is being shown live because the cricket one day game is also on Nine (digital channel during the rugby league) and it needs to switch to the cricket as soon as possible!
I hope that the IC Chairman and his Commissioners ask why a substantial section of the game's fan base is treated so appallingly.
And, lest it be alleged I am just another complaining Queenslander, if the boot was on the other foot and the game was shown on delay in New South Wales I would be complaining today just as vociferously!