Long suffering Melbourne based NSW fans were denied the chance to see Boyd Cordner lift the State of Origin shield last night. Channel Nine’s desire to brodcast the flagging AFL Footy Show taking precedence over the State of Origin coverage.
LISTEN: Origin Wrap
While it might be light years from the bad old days for Victorian League fans. It isnt that long ago that these fans would need to find a pub prepared to beam it in live from interstate, thank you Imparja, or stay up late for 60 minute highlight packages of Origin games. It still isnt good enough.
If there was a positive to be taken from Nine’s apathy, it was not bearing witness to the ridiculous announcement of Billy Slater as player of the series. Mal Meninga, Darren Lockyer and Laurie Daley have all attempted to defend the indefensible today and explain how they crowned a player who missed game one and played on the losing team as the player of the series.
Despite their best efforts, the argument that Slater wasn’t even Queensland’s best is easier to argue than that he was the best player across both teams. If not for Slater’s undoubted popularity it might have been the kind of furphy that destroyed all prestige the Wally Lewis Medal might have.
A possible solution to Nine’s cutting and running might lie in a suggestion from Peter Sterling. The former NSW number 7 is of the view that if the home team secures the shield in game two, that it should be presented then. Given that Nine rarely pulls the same trick after a decider, this might be a way to resolve the problem for a large number of viewers and of a team losing game three and receiving the shield in front of a hostile crowd.
Despite possible alternatives, the fact remains that the broadcaster cutting to another program instead of showing the presentation is unacceptable. The winning team getting their hands on the spoils of victory is the conclusion of what is one of Australian televisions most popular programs. To televise anything else instead would be like Foxtel deciding to end the last episode of Game of Thrones 10 minutes early.