Why the New Zealand Warriors playing in the grand final could be a nightmare for the NRL
- New Zealand is on the verge of reaching its third major final
- The call for change in the decision maker is growing
- NRL boss Andrew Abdo has spoken out
The NRL faces a nightmare scenario if the New Zealand Warriors reach the grand final, with Kiwi fans forced to stay up past midnight if they want to watch the whole match.
Calls are growing for the decider to be moved to an earlier time if the competition’s feel-good side win their preliminary final against Brisbane on Saturday night, but the NRL remains firm.
Once daylight saving time starts in New Zealand on October 1, Kiwi viewers will have a three-hour head start on Sydney, meaning New Zealand’s 7:30pm match will start at 10:30pm.
Organizers have already expressed outrage over the scheduling of the preliminary final at 9:50pm NZ time (7:50pm AEST).
Footy legend Gorden Tallis believes the match should be held at a more child-friendly time regardless.
The NRL faces a nightmare scenario if the New Zealand Warriors reach the grand final
Warriors fans will have to stay up until midnight to watch the game
“Some things are bigger than ratings and I think kids sit with their families and sit with their dad and have a barbecue,” Tallis said on NRL 360.
“I think the game belongs to the people and they should have it earlier so all the kids can watch it.
‘That’s how I fell in love with the game, sitting there with my dad watching the grand finals. The children normally fall asleep at night.’
Footy journalist Phil Rothfield said he has been suggesting an earlier kick-off for decades.
“For 25 years I’ve failed, campaigning for the daytime grand final kick-off… (former NRL boss) David Gallop met it halfway and let it slide for a few years,” Rothfield said.
“Every fan poll, and if they want a list of fans, they want a grand final in the afternoon, then they slaughter all the other time slots.
‘But Peter V’Landys and Andrew Abdo run a company that Nine and Fox Sports are putting a lot of money into that we can’t live without, and we have to listen.’
The previous Grand Finals in which the Warriors played started at 7:00 PM (AEST) in 2002 and at 5:00 PM (AEST) in 2011.
On Tuesday, NRL boss Andrew Abdo said the decider will not be moved forward to accommodate Kiwi viewers if the Warriors win this weekend.
Footy legend Gorden Tallis (pictured) believes the Grand Final should be held at a more child-friendly time, regardless of who is playing this year
NRL boss Andrew Abdo said the decider will not be pushed forward to accommodate Kiwi fans
“At this stage there are no plans to move the kick-off, regardless of which teams are playing in the competition,” Abdo said.
‘We have contracted positions for good reasons around these kick-off moments.
‘Every year around this time we have the discussion about moving the kick-off earlier (in the day).
“We feel very comfortable with the (kickoff time) because it’s a full day of football. The grand final is quite unique and special for our sport because we play three matches of football.’