27 Aug 2000 D/I NRL grand final Broncos vs Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia. picDavid/Kapernick sport rugby league action. Gorden Tallis tackled by Craig Wing and Ryan Cross.
27 Aug 2000 D/I NRL grand final Broncos vs Sydney Roosters at Stadium Australia. picDavid/Kapernick sport rugby league action. Gorden Tallis tackled by Craig Wing and Ryan Cross.

Revealed: NRL’s plan for return to a 3pm grand final

The NRL wants to return to the good old days to stage a Sunday afternoon grand final this year.

The problem, as is often the case, is broadcaster Channel 9.

For the first time in years, the premiership decider won't be played on the October long weekend.

It has been scheduled for Sunday, October 25, by which time fans could be back at the venues.

A Sunday night grand final without the holiday Monday has far less appeal, especially for the thousands of country and interstate fans who make the annual pilgrimage to Sydney for the big game. Sydney will now lose the tourism and economy boost (hotels, restaurants, taxis) that the game delivers on the long weekend.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal acting NRL boss Andrew Abdo has raised the issue in broadcast discussions with Channel 9. They are not keen.

The game now kicks off at 7.30pm, or usually closer to 7.45pm.

On a school night, it's too late for fans to get to the game and home again at a reasonable hour.

 

The night time GF is tough on some fans. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
The night time GF is tough on some fans. Photo: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

 

The decider in 2000 (Roosters versus Broncos) was the last 3pm kick-off. The punters loved it: a backyard barbie and then the big game.

It moved to nights the next year because Nine wanted the bigger advertising dollars that comes with prime-time television.

The NRL has not given up hope of the afternoon, or at least twilight, kick-off this season. Negotiations will continue with Channel 9.

Originally published as Revealed: NRL's plan for return to a 3pm grand final


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