Players accepting of TV demands
Gold Coast Titans co-captain Nate Myles has adopted his no-nonsense approach on the field to the latest release of the premiership schedule, insisting players need to spend more time worrying about winning games than how long they have to prepare.
Between rounds 23-25 the NRL will be televised five days a week with Thursday night games on Channel Nine kicking off at 7.45pm right through the weekend to the Monday night fixture on Fox Sports from 7pm.
The Rabbitohs, who will feature in three of the four Thursday night fixtures, kick off Round 26 with a blockbuster against the Roosters at Allianz Stadium but in the week leading into the Finals Series there is no Monday night football.
The Thursday night scheduling was part of the negotiation process with free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine and allows for two live free-to-air games and one delayed game in the closing four rounds of the competition.
Three of the top four teams – Sea Eagles, Bulldogs and Rabbitohs – feature heavily in free-to-air games as do the Broncos, who have five of their final six games featured on Channel Nine.
The Titans, Panthers and Dragons each fare well with three games apiece on free-to-air while the Warriors, Raiders, Sharks and Cowboys will have their games shown live each week on Fox Sports.
The introduction of Thursday night games will see the Sea Eagles have a five-day turnaround from their Round 23 clash with the Titans to their Round 24 meeting with the Eels but Myles insists players need to be more accepting of the commercial reality in which they are earning their income.
"[Bulldogs prop] James Graham came out the other day and said something about it and he's pretty much spot-on," Myles said of Graham's comments where he urged players to simply get on with it. "Fortunately our game is run off viewing and the media side of it and the whole process is what keeps us afloat. You can't keep complaining about it, you've just got to do it.
"To be honest, I think there's been too much of an uproar about the timing of everything. At the end of the day you've just got to win the game. You get the same amount of blokes on the field, the field's the same size and the posts are the same size so there's not much you can be pinning your losses on."
On Tuesday when discussing the impact of the Origin schedule on the Bulldogs, Graham also said players must become more cognisant of the demands that come from broadcasters on the back of inflated rights deals.
"It is not ideal and people have mooted alternatives but it is hard when you sit down and talk with the top brass at the NRL when they will tell you that the TV deal is in place until 2017 and Fox and Channel Nine want a product and they are paying money for it," Graham said.
"The increase in the grants and the increase in the salary caps, if you want them sometimes you have to give a little bit.
"Everyone would like stand-alone Origin but until the money side of things gets renegotiated I don't think you are going to get it."
While he acknowledges that the longer turnaround times do allow for more thorough preparation, Myles dismisses the notion that they are to blame for poor performances.
"There's no doubt it is [a difference], it's just simple numbers there but it's how your body's going too," said the 29-year-old.
"You can be busted and have a five-day turnaround and sometimes it can be a bit better because you don't have time to think about it but it's just about how you're approaching the game."