With the largest population in Australia and some of the most passionate NRL and Rugby League fans in the country – why then can NSW not get decent crowds to any games, let alone a one-off test marking 100 years of tradition in the great game of League?
If the lure of 26 of the best International players on the park isn’t enough, the fact that this Centenary Test Match is being played at the famous SCG and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to pay respects to a century of tradition should be more than enough motivation to get bums on seats for this clash.
As NRL officials and the Sydney media do their best to beat up the match and attract a healthier crowd, the talk of Queensland getting more representative fixtures should there be a poor crowd showing at the SCG is more than just a bluff. Queensland Rugby League supporters have been voting with their feet for years now, their Origin matches are obviously always a sell-out – something the NSW fans have failed to do in some years. Just look at the Gold Coast Titans, they have only been on the scene for just over a year and they are attracting great crowds to their new stadium.
Willie Mason has suggested that even Melbourne could host this event and get a massive crowd to the match, an interesting point and also fairly close to the truth.
Personally, I think Sydney fans will turn up to this game and give it the respect it deserves. The fact that it is being held at the SCG is a positive move, close to the Sydney CBD and easily accessible to the public. Thats been a problem for ANZ Stadium (formerly Telstra Stadium) at Homebush. While it’s a large, new Stadium with top amenities – Sydney-siders that worked in the CBD always preferred to visit the SFS (Sydney Football Stadium) as it was walking distance from the city and perfect to attend before a night out on the town.
Unless you wanted to do some shopping at DFO, there isn’t much else to do in Homebush after a game of Rugby League.
So with that in mind, the Rugby League loving Sydney fans should turn up to this historic match and give it the kudo’s it deserves.
And don’t think for a minute that the Australian side will win by 50+ again. The New Zealand side have a well-balanced make-up and with the assistance of Wayne Bennett, they will provide more than a good challenge to the Kangaroos. So do your bit for 100 years of Rugby League – get some tickets to tomorrow nights game at the SCG, be part of history and you’re going to see a high quality and entertaining game.
2008 SCG Centenary Test Lineups:
KANGAROOS: Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Israel Folau, Greg Bird, Johnathan Thurston, Brent Kite, Cameron Smith (c), Petero Civoniceva, Paul Gallen, Ryan Hoffman, Michael Crocker. Interchange: Carl Webb, Anthony Tupou, Willie Mason, Kurt Gidley.
KIWIS: Brent Webb, Jason Nightingale, Setaimata Sa, Iosia Soliola, Sam Perrett, Ben Roberts, Thomas Leuluai, Roy Asotasi (c), Issac Luke, Nathan Cayless, Sonny Bill Williams, Simon Mannering, David Fa’alogo. Interchange: Jeremy Smith, Dene Halatau, Adam Blair, Frank Pritchard.