Records were broken and family ticket sales surged over the Easter weekend as nearly 170,000 people attended NRL games.
NRL Head of Football, Mr Todd Greenberg, said the combination of fine weather, strong games, family tickets and activities and the holiday break resulted in the best attendances of the 2014 season so far.
Highlights were the 43,225 crowd at the Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs game on Friday night and the 50,668 attendance at yesterday's game between the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers.
Mr Greenberg said the records broken were:
• The 50,668 crowd at the Eels-Wests Tigers game smashed the record for a Premiership match between the two teams (previously 34,272 in 2009). It was also Parramatta's biggest home game crowd in 50 years and the biggest crowd at a match this year;
• Yesterday's attendance at the Eels-Wests Tigers game was the fifth highest Premiership crowd ever in Sydney (excluding double headers);
• 61 per cent of tickets sold for yesterday's game were family tickets;
• The total attendance for the round was 169,408 – the highest this year;
• The Rabbitohs attracted their highest ever home crowd against the Bulldogs.
Mr Greenberg said the standard of football was exceptional and strong crowds are expected again over the ANZAC Day weekend.
He said overnight analysis showed that the referees made the correct call in denying Melbourne winger Sisa Waqa a try against Canberra.
"This was a really tough call to make but the match officials got it exactly right," he said.
"The games are so close and so exciting at the moment that every call is being closely scrutinised.
"What we are finding is that some match officials who are being criticised for their calls are actually getting them right."
Mr Greenberg said the video referee had erred in allowing a try by Manly's Kieran Foran after an obstruction.
He said the obstruction rule remains the same as it has for the last 12 months.
If the referee believes a defending player is impeded from making a tackle and/or the defensive line is disadvantaged then a penalty should be awarded.
"Naturally, when referees use their discretion there will be debate from time to time," Mr Greenberg said.
"But the coaches and players know this is the rule and it will continue to be applied this way by the referees."