Brisbane Sundays a win for the fans
Sunday afternoon rugby league will return to Suncorp Stadium in 2018 and the Brisbane Broncos could not be happier with the NRL's decision to reward their fans with family-friendly timeslots.
The Broncos will play five games on Sunday in 2018, and for the first time since 2011 three of those matches will be at home in front of a packed house at Lang Park.
Brisbane have been campaigning for Sunday home games after going without for the past two seasons and the drought will be officially broken when they take on the Gold Coast Titans on April 1.
A clash against the Vodafone Warriors on July 15 will be their second home Sunday match-up, before the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles take on the Broncos in the last game of the season on Sunday September 2 at Suncorp Stadium.
A pleased Paul White spoke to media on Thursday about the fixtures, and the Broncos CEO was quick to praise the draw.
"We're enormously happy with the draw we've been given. It has a large amount of variety," White said.
"We have our share of Thursday and Friday night games like we've had for the past three years, and the big news for our members and our fans is that Sunday football is back in Brisbane again.
"We have three Sunday (home) games. We finish the year with a Sunday game against Manly in what is our 30th year. Our first game was against Manly so we think we can do some real promotion around that game and finish the year with a bumper crowd."
White's mixture of joy and relief is understandable considering the Broncos have played just four of 72 home games on a Sunday since the start of 2012.
But why do Sundays matter?
Well for Brisbane it brings an opportunity for bigger crowds as Sundays allow for extra travel time and a timeslot suitable for families with children.
With one of the biggest supporter bases in the NRL, Brisbane's fans come from all across Queensland and Sundays will allow them to make that journey and fill Suncorp Stadium to capacity.
"After a couple of years of lobbying hard we are really pleased we could deliver [Sundays]. It will allow us to attract more families and some younger supporters and fans," White said.
"It is a more family-friendly timeslot and for that we are enormously appreciative of the work the NRL have done.
"Over the last six years we've only had four Sunday games. The last time we had three Sunday games in a season was in 2011. To have three in a season is a wonderful result for us."
For some, 2018 will mark the first time they have been to Suncorp Stadium on a Sunday afternoon.
White, who has partaken in that experience many times with his family, believes it is something everyone should have the opportunity to experience.
"There's something a bit special about playing on a Sunday afternoon," he said.
"Being a father of four I know how important it is to allow parents to bring their children with them to a game. It's a special experience so I'm really looking forward to that as well."