The NRL has been asked why the Sea Eagles v Dragons Round 16 Monday night match cannot be re-scheduled to a Sunday afternoon timeslot. Here’s the answer.
While there is certainly excitement building around the Manly v St George Illawarra game, the schedule for this match was set on April 19 following Round 6, at which time the Dragons were ranked third on the competition table and Manly were ranked fifth. At that time the match did not have the same significance as it now does in many people’s eyes.
In the time since the match was scheduled other clubs have sold tickets, corporate packages and advertising schedules around the announced playing dates, and it would be unfair on the clubs and the fans involved to try and change those arrangements. It would also be impractical at this stage for the Dragons and Manly fans who have already made arrangements to attend at that time and also the Newcastle Knights fans who are currently scheduled to play on Sunday.
At a time when fans are looking for increased certainty around the draw and when the NRL has stated its intention to push for an advanced season schedule that locks in all playing days from the start of the season, the idea of moving matches after they are selected can only add to uncertainty for anyone.
We certainly acknowledge that the scheduling of representative games during the season is an issue that requires regular review and those reviews are already taking place. It remains however a complex area and one that is impacted by existing broadcast agreements and the need to balance the Telstra Premiership and representative football.