With the Intrust Super Cup finals on the horizon, news emerged this week in the Courier Mail that minor premiers PNG Hunters were unlikely to have any home finals shown on free-to-air television in Australia over the next month.
The first thought is that it was an disappointing decision but the more you think about it, the more you think it’s frustrating where the benefits outweigh the costs.
The QRL have taken a huge step forward to promote the game in the neighbouring mad-rugby league nation, so it’s hard to understand why they wouldn’t invest in one what could be one of the biggest sporting events in their country’s history.
If the PNG Hunters are found playing in week three of the finals, they will need to come up with $200k (AU) in to pay for free-to-air broadcasters to televise the game back to Australia.
Failing the club not having the funds, let’s hope commonsense prevails and the QRL let the Hunters decide which Brisbane ground they play at if worse comes to worse.
North Ipswich Reserve should be in the mix to host the game, a ground where they’ve had some success in the past two seasons. Also coming into the equation should be Davies Park, a ground where they are undefeated.
The stance is in line with the with the 2015 finals series where having finished second and going down in week two of the finals, the Hunters were forced to play at BMD Kougari Oval against eventual champs Ipswich Jets.
The same argument is being made for this year’s finals series. The QRL have defended their position in saying,
“If I have an option, I always try to televise a knockout game anyway.”
This logic doesn’t make sense. Last year in week two of the finals, the free-to-air game was played at Dolphin Oval between minor premiers Redcliffe and Burleigh, the winner going straight through to the decider. The knockout game was shown live stream through the QRL website.
What is stopping the QRL from putting some money into the growth of the game after a successful Origin series where Suncorp Stadium earlier this year hosted two sell-out games?
Let’s hope the PNG Hunters win their first finals game in Port Moresby and avert what could be a PR disaster.