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The Forward Pass: What’s the Preliminary Final Change?

The fake news that’s actually fake.

Melbourne’s preliminary final against Cronulla will be moved to Saturday afternoon.

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Originally on Friday night, the NRL wanted to avoid being swamped by the AFL.

Melbourne will play Cronulla at 4pm on Saturday, with the NRLW game curtain-raiser between Brisbane and NZ Warriors starting at 1:30pm. Channel Nine and Fox will broadcast the game live as usual.

“We were happy with a Friday night prelim final in Melbourne, it worked last year,” NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said. “Then we find out Collingwood are playing Richmond at the MCG on the same night. Two powerhouse Victorian clubs who haven’t played each other in a final for 30-odd years, that’s a guaranteed 90,000; we’re going to be murdered!”

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Storm coach Craig Bellamy is happy with the change. “We had a Saturday afternoon final against Parra last year and got over 20,000. It was a pretty decent game too. We really should have more Saturday afternoon finals like the good old days. It’s a great spectacle, it’s not as cold and it’s easier for fans.”

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Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is also happy. “After the tough game against Penrith, we were worried that playing in Melbourne on a busy Friday night would hurt us. Now we’ve got almost 24 hours more until the game, we can have a quiet night Friday in Melbourne as a team, avoid the crowds, and get ready for Saturday.”

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A replacement Friday night game is in place, with an Origin legends match played at North Sydney Oval, coached by Paul Vautin (Queensland) and Wayne Pearce (NSW).

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“I’ve convinced a bunch of old Queensland and New South Wales players to put the boots on for some charity this Friday. We’ll be lucky to get 6,000 there, but at least there’ll be a game on TV and it doesn’t matter that we’ll be flogged by the AFL,” Greenberg said.

The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass

Deputy Sports Editor for the Australian Times Weekly

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