A few days ago Glenn Jackson wrote an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. He reported that AFL Sydney were interested in playing local matches on Birchgrove Oval, the original home of Rugby League. The way he wrote it came across as if the AFL was taking over the world. This is of course not true.
This is Sydney. Anything that threatens Rugby League in Sydney in their eyes in any manner will be put down.
AFL Sydney has applied to play matches at the oval. The SMH reported that soccer was being kicked off the ground because of the AFL. This is only half true. Yes, they are moving away, but to their new facility.
Former Balmain great Benny Elias actually called the move “offensive”. Thats right, offensive. When State of Origin was played on the MCG in 1994, I don’t recall it being labelled ‘offensive’ by anyone involved in Melbourne’s football media, and that is the traditional home of football.
Since the launch of the GWS Giants, certain Sydney media outlets have been criticizing the AFL. The thing is, the AFL is leading in all aspects. Due to the success of the Swans over the past 10 years, AFL involvement in Sydney has increased significantly. Australia-wide, the AFL leads in crowds and TV ratings.
Even Saturday week, the Giants managed to pull 7,000 people out to the Showgrounds in poor conditions. The corrosponding NRL matches only pulled 9,000 and 14,000 respectively. That would be embarrasing for the NRL, with a team in its 11th match pulling only 2,000 less fans to a game with two clubs that have been around for a long time.
However, the Sydney media doesn’t see it this way. They continuely criticise these crowds despite the situations. Maybe they should look in their own backyard.
On Sunday it was reavealed the the ARLC (Australian Rugby League Commission) would most likely hand the next NRL license to Western Australia in 2015 at the conclusion of the next NRL TV Rights deal, and it seems logical.
Per Census, Western Australia is the fastest growing state in the country. They already have a Rugby League side in the WA Reds and the Western Australia Rugby League is probably owed a team, of course with the Western Reds being disposed of by the NRL at the end of the Super League War in 1997. It would also expose the sport to a state dominated by the AFL.
However, some Sydneysiders couldn’t see that side of the story. Some readers of the Fox Sports article commented that by implementing a Western Australia side, the league would go backwards.
Yep, that’s right. The NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE would be going backwards by entering a Western Australian team. The NRL is already 30 years behind the AFL in expansion teams, barring the Melbourne Storm, who have largely brought the league forward in their time in the league with crowds bigger than some Sydney sides.
Melbourne and Brisbane are proof that all four football codes can exist in one city and live harmoniously together. Both had rough starts but are now booming.
The Storm and the Collingwood and Essendon football clubs even promote their respective Anzac Day fixtures together. Collingwood cheersquad leader Joffa Corfe is also a mad Melbourne Storm supporter. You will often see former Magpies coach Mick Malthouse at Melbourne Heart and Rebels matches.
It’s time for Sydney, in particular the Sydney media, to jump on board and support all sports.