NRL shows AFL how a Grand Final’s done.

The code played North of the Murray has long claimed to be the superior product for television audiences, and based on the evidence of two Grand Finals played over the weekend, I would have to agree. And no, I’m not talking about the pre-match entertainment.

His name is Robert Paulson... and he sucked.

Please don’t get me wrong: As a sport, I prefer AFL to NRL. I thought the AFL Grand Final was a blinder of a game. But that could also be because the AFL subjected me, the TV viewer, to a criss-cross of stripes flying left, right, up, down across my TV screen.

The NRL had a team that normally wears a black jersey run out in a white jersey to better distinguish them from their opponents. It makes for better TV viewing.

Sorry, but the rhetoric of “it’s tradition!” just doesn’t cut it anymore. When every pixel is projected in 200MHz, 1080p Hi-Definition, it is inexcusable to leave the TV audience unsure about which side just tackled which. Dark Navy and white horizontal stripes. Black and white vertical stripes. Inexcusable.

It's either a zebra or it's Jimmy Bartel tackling Scott Pendlebury

Many of you will think that since you personally had no trouble distinguishing between the two sides, there can’t be any problem. But in the marquee game of the year, the only one that has any global reach whatsoever, the only one watched by people who don’t even care about football… the league let itself down by not forcing one side or the other to wear a clash jumper. Shorts and socks are all well and good, but for a TV audience the jumper is king.

Every time this discussion is raised, the league is bullied into submission by the more traditional clubs. Apparently they ignore the fact that Manchester United, FC Barcelona, the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics and many other incredibly traditional, incredibly successful and incredibly huge sporting clubs all have genuine alternative kits.

So much for the Red Devils.

Mr Demetriou and his cronies need to man up and mandate genuine clash jumpers. And no, Collingwood, just your smugblack with white stripes is not an alternative to white with black stripes.



4 thoughts on “NRL shows AFL how a Grand Final’s done.

  1. Meatloaf was epic. Sure he’s past it and in all likelihood isn’t anywhere close to being 100% healthy, but hey, he gave it a shot. And he threatened to kick the asses of 97 000 people. That I like.

    In terms of the jumpers, I think being proud of your jumper’s history is important. It means that clubs won’t wear ridiculous jumpers because of sponsor’s wishes. And it means you’ve got something that’s consistent across the years (Port Adelaide’s jumper-adventures is a case in point). Why not hold onto that little bit of something that seperates our game from others?

  2. Meatloaf’s problem wasn’t that he can’t sing any more. It’s that he can’t sing to Meatloaf standards any more. The man has given us some of the most intense, ballsy power ballads in history. Vocally, they are a tour de force. It was always going to be tough.

    Agree about consistency in jumpers… but what’s to stop a club establishing a consistent ‘clash’ kit? Again, the Celtics have had the same TWO uniforms throughout their history – one green and one white (with only minor stylistic changes).

    So if St Kilda are playing Essendon, why can’t the Saints run out in 95% white (with red and black trim, while the bombers run out in 95% black (with a red sash 1/3 the normal width). And if that jumper is always used in clash games… that’s consistency!

  3. Teams have pandered to major sponsors before though, I seem to remember Carlton (only the third oldest club in the AFL) wearing a bright blue jumper to commemorate M&M’s releasing a blue M&M (worn in round 3 1997), so if one of the oldest clubs in the games history can do it, then why not other clubs?

  4. Bingo! Resisting clash jumpers is a sign of either insecurity or immaturity. I’m thinking mostly the former. The fear is that “changing what makes our game unique” is automatically a bad move. Sometimes, it’s the right move!

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