NRL needs to schedule games: Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL needs to schedule games: Tigers

By David Beniuk 22/06/2011 07:11:05 PM Comments (0)

Frustrated Wests Tigers boss Stephen Humphreys says moving an iconic game from the Sydney Cricket Ground shows why the NRL needs to reclaim the right to schedule matches.

The Tigers have been forced to move their round 22 clash with St George Illawarra to the Sydney Football Stadium after it was scheduled for a Friday night.

The occasion was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dragons 22-0 win over Western Suburbs in the 1961 grand final, a match that featured greats Norm Provan, Johnny Raper, Reg Gasnier, Noel Kelly and Arthur Summons.

But the Nine Network's decision to broadcast the match on August 5 meant the club had to revise its plans.

The Tigers believe holding the match at the SCG has been made impractical and the club has had to cancel more than 1,000 young dancers who were to stage a spectacular at the game's former headquarters.

"We and the NRL were keen to host it on the Sunday but at the end of the day we weren't able to convince (Nine)," Humphreys told AAP.

"We are where we are (with scheduling). We've obviously learned some lessons going into the next broadcast negotiations.

"Next time round there would have to be a significant premium paid for us to continue the current practice.

"The scheduling of your matches, for me that's intrinsic to running the game so I'd prefer the NRL to be the body doing it."

Under the current broadcast deal, Nine gets first choice on matches for the high-rating Friday night slot while that network and Fox Sports determine the schedule for the other games.

The current arrangement ends at the end of next season, when a new broadcast deal negotiated by rugby league's impending independent commission will take effect.

The Tigers are determined commemorations of the 1963 grand final, which spawned the famous photo of Provan and Summons that was sculpted into the premiership trophy, will not suffer the same fate.

"Hopefully we'll be able to make that decision ourselves," said Humphreys, the son of former league boss the late Kevin Humphreys.

"It's incredibly important ... the photo is one of those iconic images of the game.

"The history is so important and it's incumbent upon all of us to make sure that doesn't get lost.

"I know the NRL were doing what they can to assist us, it's just that at the moment the right to schedule belongs to the broadcasters.

"I don't think we can bemoan the fact that they have their own motives but hopefully next time round we can get control of that back."

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