The Nine Network did not bring viewers every moment of last night’s first State of Origin Rugby League game – it repeatedly went to ad breaks after tries were scored or there were breaks in the play, only to return with one or two tackles and a kick-off having been missed.

It’s not the first time Nine has done it: this was a problem last year. So how did it go? Well the game helped Nine to a big win. More than 1.79 million watched nationally, mostly in Sydney and Brisbane, with the audience the highest for a State of Origin game since 2003.

Nine and the Rugby League authorities will be in a happy mood during Friday’s negotiations for the new seven year free-to-air TV rights. Nine has those in the bag. The State of Origin audience saw Nine win the night last night with a national audience share of 38.7% to Seven with 22.6% and Ten with 21.6%. The ABC was on 12.7% and SBS on 4.5%.

Nine won because of a 47.4% share in Sydney and a 56.4% share in Brisbane. Ten won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, which was understandable seeing that the game was on delay there and those are AFL markets anyway. But those missed moments grated with viewers, as did the pop-up ads during the broadcast.