NRL grand final brought forward to 5pm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL grand final brought forward to 5pm

By Liam Fitzgibbon 18/12/2007 06:33:56 PM Comments (0)

The NRL has compromised on the push for a return to daytime grand finals, confirming that next year's competition decider will be brought forward to a 5pm (AEDT) kick-off.

NRL chief executive David Gallop confirmed the October 5 decider would be brought forward from its 7pm start for the first time since 2001 in a bid to appease those who felt the night time kick off did not suit children and interstate fans.

"We see it as a near perfect result," Gallop told AAP.

"Good for players in terms of the heat factor and fans at the ground and at a time when millions of television viewers will be able to watch the game."

Changes to daylight savings next year mean the competition decider will be played on the first day they come into effect.

The 5pm kick-off also means the game will be played mostly in daylight and at 4pm (AEST) Queensland time.

Gallop said calls for the match to be restored to its traditional 3pm start were overlooked because of concerns about afternoon heat in October.

"We looked carefully at heat conditions at the time, not only for the first grade game, but for the preliminary games including the first-ever Toyota Cup grand final and we felt that 5pm was a better starting time, that being 4pm in Queensland," Gallop said.

Gallop said the decision supported the "strong community support for a daytime match" and was made in consultation with players, clubs and sponsors.

At the annual conference of NRL chief executives held earlier this month, eight clubs had voted for a day match while eight voted to retain the night fixture.

Channel Nine had originally campaigned for the NRL to retain the 7pm start time, arguing up to 700,000 viewers could be lost in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide if the match reverted to the afternoon, but Gallop said: "In the end they were very co-operative and very appreciative of the level of public momentum that was behind it."

The network's chief executive David Gyngell said in a statement: "Channel Nine has worked with the NRL in the spirit of the game, and is happy with the outcome that has been achieved."

Along with new grand final kick-off time, the NRL also announced that matches in the second and third weeks of finals would be played on Friday and Saturday nights instead of Saturday night and Sunday.

The move to the home and away finals format in the first two weeks, and the strong audience demand for Friday night football contributed to the decision, Gallop said.

The grand final kick-off time would continue to be reviewed on a year-by-year basis, the NRL said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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