- New Zealand on the verge of qualifying for the third grand final
- Calls are increasing to change the decision-maker
- NRL boss Andrew Abdo speaks
The NRL faces a nightmare scenario if the New Zealand Warriors advance to the grand final, with Kiwi fans forced to stay up past midnight if they want to watch the full match.
Calls are growing for the decider to be brought forward to an earlier date if the competition’s high-spirited side win their preliminary final against Brisbane on Saturday night – but the NRL remains steadfast.
Once daylight saving time passes in New Zealand on October 1, Kiwi viewers will be three hours ahead of Sydney, meaning the 7:30 p.m. match will start at 10:30 p.m. in New Zealand.
Organizers have previously been criticized for scheduling the preliminary final at 9:50 p.m. NZ time (7:50 p.m. AEST).
Football legend Gorden Tallis says the match should still take place at a more child-friendly time.
NRL faces nightmare scenario if New Zealand Warriors reach grand final
Warriors fans will have to stay up past midnight to watch the game
“Some things go beyond the ratings and I think the kids are sitting with their families, with their dads and having barbecues,” Tallis said on NRL 360.
“I think the game belongs to the people and they should have it earlier so all the kids (can watch it).
“That’s how I fell in love with the game, sitting there with my dad watching the grand final. At night the kids normally fall asleep.
Footy journalist Phil Rothfield said he had been suggesting an earlier kick-off for decades.
“For 25 years I’ve failed, I’ve campaigned for the grand final kick-off… (former NRL boss) David Gallop met him halfway and got him “It’s been twilight for a few years,” Rothfield said.
“All the fan polls, and if they tell the fans they want a grand final in the afternoon, they massacre every other time slot.
“But Peter V’Landys and Andrew Abdo run a company that Nine and Fox Sports have invested huge sums of money in that we can’t live without, and we need to listen.”
The previous grand finals the Warriors have competed in started at 7pm (AEST) in 2002 and 5pm (AEST) in 2011.
On Tuesday, NRL boss Andrew Abdo said the decider would not be brought forward to accommodate Kiwi viewers if the Warriors won this weekend.
Football legend Gorden Tallis (pictured) believes the grand final match should be played at a more child-friendly time, regardless of who plays this year.
NRL boss Andrew Abdo says the decider will not be brought forward to accommodate Kiwi fans.
“At this stage, there are no plans to postpone kick-off, regardless of the teams competing in the competition,” Abdo said.
“We contracted positions for good reasons at these kick-off times.
“It’s about this time every year that we debate whether we can move kickoff earlier (in the day).
“We’re really comfortable with (the kick-off time) because it’s a full day of football. The grand final is quite unique and special for our sport because we have three football games.