Readers
will know full well that I have robust views on Nine’s coverage of
rugby league. And Nine itself must be worrying somewhat given that the
Friday night season opener was not enough to peg back Seven’s lead for
the week. While the Bulldogs v Dragons game won the night for Nine, you
have to wonder if fans are finally (and understandably) revolting
against its failure to show the game live, given the opportunity made
available by the demise of Burke’s Backyard?

But there’s some light on the horizon for league fans and Nine. The new Sunday Roast program is well worth a look.The panel includes The DailyTelegraph’s
Paul Kent, and Mark Geyer, who readers will know I hold in the highest
regard as a no-nonsense, tell-it-how-you-see-it commentator. I hope
that Geyer has found his niche and doesn’t fall foul of the power
brokers at Nine because he has robust views on the game! It needs
him… and so does Nine.

And now to radio. The addition of Darryl Brohman to the Continuous Call
team on 2GB is to be applauded. And so is the fact that Ray Hadley has
taken a “forgive and forget” approach, given his spectacular fall-out
with Brohman five or so years ago.

He is a worthy replacement
for the late Peter Frilingos and adds to a talented line-up that
includes Bob Fulton and Steve Roach. ABC radio’s league coverage
continues to annoy me and if last year’s ratings are a guide it annoys
many fans as well. When News Radio broadcasts AFL matches, it does so
without interruption, without switching to union, or league, or
swimming or whatever. But when local ABC Radio broadcasts rugby league,
there are far too many interruptions for crosses to the rugby scores,
cricket scores, and whatever else is on. The ABC needs to get serious
about its rugby league coverage – as it is with its coverage of the AFL
on Melbourne radio.

Unless it does, it will continue to trail
2GB/4BC in the ratings in Sydney and Brisbane, but, then again, ratings
don’t matter to the ABC do they? All round, a great weekend to start
the 2005 season – and some very welcome media coverage improvements!

Jeff Wall can still be contacted at [email protected]

CRIKEY: Meanwhile, Jeff Wall reviews the opening round of the new NRL season on the website here.

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