The NRL
finals game between North Queensland and Melbourne may have been underwhelming for the
16,810 people who turned up on a cold, windy and wet Saturday
night.

And it may
have cost the NRL around a million bucks by some
estimates and it also didn’t grab viewers.

But it
did enough to give the Nine Network victory on Saturday night and in the week,
helped by another bout of weak programming by Seven.

The NRL attracted just 778,000 viewers, half the 1.485 million who
watched the West-Coast vs Adelaide Crows preliminary AFL final earlier in the
day on Ten. But that was enough to win, with 389,000 people watching in
Sydney and 256,000 in Brisbane. Just
117,000 watched game in Melbourne.

But it was the Number One program in Sydney and Brisbane and those
numbers saw Nine home on the night 28.6% to 24.6% on ten, with Seven
weakening to third with 21.6%. That was just in front of the ABC with
20.9% while SBS was back on 4.3%.

Seven
had slipped home Friday night in second behind Ten (34.8%) with a winning 25.2%
share. That was enough to draw level with Nine on
26.2%.

But
Seven’s lack of interesting programs, which saw viewers go to Ten and the ABC on
Saturday night, allowed Nine scoot away with the week 26.5% to 25.6%. Ten was
third with 23.2 and the ABC was on 15.6%, with SBS on 9.2%.

The Swans-St Kilda game generated the biggest audience of the finals so
far on Friday night with 1.828 million, with 414,000 watching the game
in Sydney, 765,000 in Sydney and 171,000 in Brisbane, the highest
audiences in both key markets for the finals so far.

Nine
won Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, but
Seven won Perth (
naturally), and more importantly, squeaked home in Sydney for the
week.

The
week ahead sees the Brownlow medal ceremony in Melbourne live and Adelaide
and Perth. But
in Sydney and Brisbane it will not appear to midnight, so uncertain Nine is of
its appeal and so shaky is its support of the code outside of the southern
states.

Peter Fray

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