NRL ditches final round Monday game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL ditches final round Monday game

07/08/2007 08:47:13 PM Comments (0)

Sanity prevailed at NRL headquarters when Monday night football was dumped for the final round of the regular season in favour of a `Super Sunday'.

The NRL averted a potential clash with clubs by scrapping the weeknight fixture after it was revealed the finals hopes of some clubs could have been seriously affected by playing on the Monday night.

Fourteen of the 16 teams in the NRL remain in the hunt for the finals, making scheduling a Monday night fixture in the final round a logistical nightmare.

The finals kick-off four days later with the fourth-placed team going up against fifth on the Friday night, which could have given any club having to back up from the Monday night a dramatically shortened preparation.

"Anyone that's going to be involved in the finals obviously wanted to have as much preparation time as they possible could," NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said.

"When you've got two clubs that have to play Monday night with the possibility for them to have a shorter preparation than teams that have played over the weekend, then that's going to be an issue.

"Thankfully (host broadcaster) Fox Sports very generously recognised that was going to be a difficulty and they've helped us come up with a solution."

With Monday night football scrapped on the final weekend, the NRL will now play three matches on the Sunday, including a 7pm game between Melbourne and Gold Coast at Olympic Park.

Earlier that day Parramatta host Brisbane and Manly take on St George Illawarra at Brookvale Oval.

As the table currently stands, the sides in the top three - Melbourne, Manly and Parramatta - would all be in action with the potential of a final round shootout for the minor premiership.

The other three sides involved are all still in the race for the top eight, setting up the potential for must-win matches for the Titans, Broncos and Dragons.

The late match in the Victorian capital could decide both the minor premiership and the top eight.

"This is a positive outcome all round," said NRL chief executive David Gallop.

"We certainly appreciate the flexibility that has been shown by all parties."

Fox Sports said it had been keen to ensure the best possible finish to the minor premiership race.

"This decision was made in the best interests of everyone involved in the game including the fans and the eight teams that will qualify for the finals series," said Fox Sports chief executive David Malone.

"This move acknowledges the importance of giving all eight teams that qualify for the finals equality in their preparation."

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