NRL clubs not sold on midday kick-off - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL clubs not sold on midday kick-off

By Steve Jancetic 19/05/2009 06:49:54 PM Comments (0)

The NRL's proposal for a midday Sunday kick-off has gone down like a lead balloon with most clubs calling for more matches in the traditional 3pm timeslot.

Not one club contacted by AAP said they would give the midday start a resounding thumbs up, with a host of chief executives claiming crowd numbers would take a massive hit with the early start time.

Acting on a call from fans for more Sunday afternoon football, NRL chief executive David Gallop said the league was considering shifting one Saturday night game to 12pm on a Sunday.

The proposed move was aimed at appeasing fans and broadcasters alike with Fox Sports to broadcast two games live on a Sunday, but it appears clubs would need some convincing to give it the green light.

"I don't think 12 o'clock is the right time but I do believe that extra Sunday football is required," Manly chief executive Grant Mayer said.

"If it came in you'd have to make it work, but I'd like a guarantee from the league that you'd only have one 12pm game per year, I think it should be seen as a novelty rather than a stock standard event.

"If it's a Sunday game you're talking about specifically, an additional game, it's got to be two o'clock."

Penrith chief executive Michael Leary sided with his Sea Eagles counterpart.

"I agree with the concept of more day games but I think that it should be a little later than the 12 noon start," he said.

"We're in the outer west not in the inner city and I think the people out here would appreciate a 2pm or 3pm game."

Newcastle pushed hard for more Sunday football in an attempt to beef up crowd numbers, and after being handed a host of Saturday night matches in previous seasons, have been given five Sunday afternoon games this year.

While not completely sold on the idea of the 12pm kick-off, Knights chief executive Steve Burraston said it would be worth exploring if it meant more Sunday games.

"Sunday is our preferred day but at the normal footy time of 3pm. It's very much a tradition in Newcastle," Burraston said.

"Our members definitely have a preference for day games and I think from that point of view, whilst it may not be three o'clock, it certainly would be welcome to have another Sunday game by our members, no question."

The Sunday 2pm or 3pm timeslot is the favoured one for every NRL side bar Gold Coast, North Queensland, Melbourne and the Warriors, the latter two keen on varied timeslots.

The Titans have spent three years lobbying the NRL for Saturday 5:30pm matches - which are despised by most Sydney clubs - yet have been given only one so far in 2009.

The Cowboys have been keen on the 7:30 timeslot on a Saturday night for some time now, chief executive Peter Parr claiming the club would forfeit between $100,000-$150,000 in staging this week's game against Newcastle on Monday night.

Despite the club preferences, it seems television controls each club's fortunes.

Brisbane have stated their preference for Sunday afternoons, but have become the Friday night specialists at the Nine Network's discretion.

The Broncos have just one home Sunday afternoon match scheduled up to round 19, as have South Sydney and the Panthers.

Conversely Canberra have been given six Sunday games while the Cowboys have had but one of their home games in their preferred Saturday night timeslot.

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