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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Don't Call Me Loyal 

I wrote this yesterday but it wouldn't publish for some reason. Anyway...

I got thinking yesterday about how people go on about how the Warriors are lucky to have such loyal supporters. Well, I beg to differ!!!!

if the Warriors have such loyal supporters can somebody please explain to me why a side with a 2 and 4 record got 8,015 people along to watch them last weekend?

Just for some comparison, if anybody saw the Panthers v Sharks game last night you would have seen what looked like a packed to the rafters Penrith Stadium to watch a side with a 3 and 3 record play one with a 2 and 4 record.

So who's still saying the Warriors are lucky to get 8,000 regulars?

The Sharks who had won one match from their first 5 this year and were coming off a huge flogging by the Tigers got 9,025 along for their match v the Cowboys. The Storm who get criticised for their tragic crowds had 9,084 for their match v the Knights.

Auckland is a rugby league (and rugby union) city. It is the stronghold of league in New Zealand. There are over 20 clubs in the greater Auckland region and we have a population of about 1.3 million. Sydney may have a much larger population but they also have NINE clubs which average between 11,963 and 21,236 this season.

So how can anybody say the Warriors are lucky to have such strong diehard supporters that will stick with them through thick and thin?

I think New zealanders are as fickle as shit. Look at the pathetic crowds that the Breakers get, even when they are playing OK. Look at the Kingz and more recently the Knights. They played like shit but the crowds were a debacle.

The Warriors season average is 8,646 and the competition average is 17,343 which may hold itself and end up being another NRL record. After 7 rounds last year it was higher at 17,899 so there's a good chance it will come in a bit under last seasons record. And the Warriors are a big factor in what is holding it down. As the competition gets unprecedented numbers going through the turnstyles the Warriors crowds are falling away. Everyone (including hosts on radio sport) are talking about how woeful the Super 14 is to watch (anybody see the horrible Waratahs v Highlanders game? it was like pulling teeth and I'd say most Dunedinites were actually at the dentist judging by the huge swathes of empty seats). And those same people are waxing lyrical about the NRL which often screens afterwards being fast and free running. Last night ten minutes into the second half of the league we had seen 6 tries and a wopping 3 penalties, no collapsed scrums, not lineout penalties, hands in the rucks, mauls, stomping knees in the head or touch judges trying to get involved in the action. Oh and the ball had actually been in play for several minutes at a time. But does all this translate to people going to watch Warriors games? Well no.

The Warriors don't have a couple fo things which help other sides. Firstly they don't have any local rivalries and secondly the Sydney sides have the advantage of having decent numbers of away supporters turning up at games. But surely that is an advantage in having sides having to cross the Tasman and getting no support so that Mt Smart Stadium (Ericsson no longer has the naming rights) should be a graveyard for visiting teams, but alas the Warriors home form in the last three seasons has been pitiful.

And look at the Cowboys, Broncos and Knights. They have few away supporters making the trip and they average 21,848, 29,426 and 24,027 respectively. Don't say it's because they win either. The Knights last year took out the wooden spoon with a negative 200 points differential and still averaged 18,469.

That's loyal and that's lucky.

oh well I'm off to watch the Bulldogs tomorrow. Don't call me loyal though. The tickets were freebies ;)


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