By Jeff Wall, Crikey’s rugby league writer

Today the real
power in rugby league, the NRL Partnership Committee, will meet to
consider two issues important to the future of the game – the 16th team
franchise and free to air television rights beyond 2007.

Both
are probably “done deals,” but the NRL must for once give the interests
of fans the priority that has for too long been denied them when it
comes to the television rights issue.

State of Origin One was
a ratings bonanza (again) for Nine. It attracted over 3.1 million
viewers nationally, and gave Nine a staggering 56.4 per cent audience
share in Brisbane and 47.4 per cent in Sydney. Just how much bigger
would it have been nationwide had it been shown live in the southern
states?

The full story is on the site here.