Most rugby league fans look forward to NRL Grand Final night as the competition’s climax arrives, but many (mostly Fox League snobs like us) dread to lower themselves for what is for most the fourth time of the year with the increasingly dreadful Channel Nein team.
Maybe we find Channel Nein so annoying and ordinary because we always seem to get them at the wrong time. Like earlier in the year when we had to suit up for their garbage for the trio
Channel Nein are most likely scared that if Fox League covered the State of Origin and NRL Grand Final that droves of people will take up the alternative. And they should be. What was on offer on Grand Final merely confirms that the Fox Sports subscription is a necessary evil, and one could argue good for the health. Instead of getting riled up and risking high blood pressure and other illnesses at the bias, old argument schtick, and watching the same Sydney teams run around each and every Sunday (and a healthy dose of Broncos/dreadful Bulldogs/Eels on Thursday-Friday), you can sit back and relax and go at your speed. And your choice of game.
Onto our favourite parts of the Channel Nein effort for the NRL Grand Final.
BLURST BITS OF CHANNEL NEIN NRL GRAND FINAL DAY
- Earlier in the day they trailed off to an ad break featuring some of the “best” and “most humorous” commentary delivered by them for the season. It was neither best or funny, and did nothing to change our minds to a FTA switch for 2018. It also featured a clip of Benji Marshall in a Dragons jersey, which means that their “best” for 2017 wasn’t even enough to fill a 30 second filler heading to the ad break.
- On a positive note, the big surprise was the efficient kick off time. Maybe they have learned from the scorn delivered from rugby league fans after Origin nights of the flexible kick off time.
- Another positive was the amount of humble pie that Gus Gould had to eat. Whilst we took our NRL Neutrals Quiz and were supporting the Cowboys, it was still a joy to hear Gould having to sit through the Storm performance. He didn’t help himself by saying the Storm were overrated heading into the big game, but people like him can’t. He was once begrudgingly regarded as one of the best rugby league thinkers and media analysts, but he is fast becoming someone who comes across as bitter and twisted and having the largest chip on their shoulder in rugby league. As a consequence is adding less and less into the coverage. Maybe when/if Rabs ever retires he can take Gus with him.
- Channel Nein desperately seeking some kind of Sydney to attach themselves to given it was a non Sydney club Grand Final. That moment came when Storm centre Curtis Scott crossed for his try and the callers quickly and desperately called out to the public crying “He’s from Cronulla, he’s from Cronulla, not from Queensland! Hoorah!!”, OK, it may not have gone down completely like that, but that’s how it appeared as the Sydney focused Channel grabbed onto whatever they could on a Queensland dominated night.
- Channel Nein flocked to Grand Final heroes Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater quickly after the match finishing, most likely in the hope to get that all important live decision on their respective futures. They didn’t get it, and nor do they deserve the exclusive. You have only got to think back to the disgraceful 60 Minutes segment featuring Cameron Smith. It wouldn’t surprise if that was in the back of the Storm players minds if they intended to announce anything.
- Wally Lewis continued to contribute next to nothing. Like coaching, greatness on field does not always amount to other rugby league endeavours.
- Peter Sterling continues to be under used and shoudl come over to Fox League full time.
- Finally, much controversy aimed at Channel Nein for playing an anti SSM ad straight after the Macklemore performance. Whilst we won’t get into the overall debate, it was the poorest of timing from the broadcaster and left them begging for social media backlash. It kind of hinted which side of the fence. But I guess in their game any publicity is good publicity.
- Melbourne Storm played 3 finals games on Channel Nein, they had just six during the regular season despite being the competition front runners all season. And a lot of those games were against Queensland market ready Cowboys and Broncos. Whilst they weren’t the prettiest team to watch, they were certainly better than the awful Bulldogs who got five of their last six games on TV despite being firmly entrenched in the bottom half.
- The NRL Grand Final was the first game on Channel Nein on a Sunday that didn’t feature at least one Sydney team.
- Channel 7 have the coverage rights for the Rugby League World Cup. It won’t be better, but it will be different.
Whilst Free To Air sport is still important, that doesn’t mean it should be ordinary and archaic. Or the same Boys Club every year with little to no innovation or freshness. Perhaps they lock Gus Gould in a cage for the first twenty minutes to allow him to explode in a five minute burst then lock him back up again. Perhaps they could bring in a new face that is there because of eloquence and insight rather than Hall of Fame status, and perhaps they could remove Wally Lewis all together. Or perhaps we really don’t care and we’ll just endure it for four more games next year and snob our way through Fox League once more.
It could be worse, Channel Nein’s Summer of Cricket featuring Ashes in coming. And rugby league has yet to reach that Circle of Suckhole Arse-Licking Jerk-work yet.