Torn Between Two Stadiums

The Rolling Maul found out this week that if the Waratahs make the final it will be played at the Olympic stadium. The Rolling Mail is torn. With reasonable pricing, the NSWRU could easily sell out the ground and make an even greater mockery of League's claim that State of Origin is the pinnacle of the oval ball games in this State.

Canny viewing of the State of Origin at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday revealed dozens of rows of empty nose bleed seats, and the official crowd was listed as only 67,620. Rugby League has a great history of artificially boosting its crowd figures and giving away tens of thousands of tickets to fill cavernous echoing stadiums, so you can figure the true crowd is closer to 50,000.

The real concern for Rugby League though has to be the Rugby League World Cup, where matches between minnows can't even hope to match the popularity of such RWC2003 clasics as Uruguay vs Romania which sold 30,000 tickets to the Sydney Football Stadium and USA vs Japan that sold out Gosford Stadium.

But back to the Waratahs. The Rolling Maul is torn because selling out the Olympic Stadium will be great for the game and make for as good an atmosphere as that white elephant can muster while giving Rugby the last laugh over its Mungo cousins, at least until the next round of club Rugby!

Of course none of this matters if the Waratahs don't beat the Sharks and the Hurricanes don't beat the Crusaders. Both aren't outside the realm of reality (and yes, this is the Rolling Maul talking down the Waratahs in a futile effort not to get our hopes up), but if the Rugby gods keep smiling on the Waratahs then it has to be noted that the Waratahs have never played at the Olympic Stadium, and while the Wallabies have a great record there the Waratahs aren't bulging with Wallabies, certainly not in the back row where the Hurricanes have a good sprinkling of All Blacks and the imposing presence of Ma'a Nonu who's in the form of his life.

So it comes down to one factor, what's best for Rugby? Well fortunately that's easy to answer. Success breeds success, boosts kiddie participation, and, in this town (Sydney) more than any other, breeds popularity and that means money (which is the same thing in this day and age). Is it too late to shift the match to the Football Stadium? Yes, I thought so.


Apparently the NSWRU signed away any home finals to the homebush hall of horrors long ago, I'm not sure how long the arrangement stands for.

As it was, WJ and I had a great trip to Christchurch. We went for a Cup and a Coach, 1 out of 2 aint half bad.