G’day, G&GRs. Chuck back with you for a special (not like that, Yowie) edition of the Chewsday Chew. Unfortunately, life has struck Nutta in, well, the Nuttas so he’s unavailable for this week. Compounding this is that you serial G&GR procrastinators are stuck with my ‘journalism’ for two consecutive days. Me paenitemus.
So, Super Round. I had a bit of a crack in Monday’s news about the absolutely appalling efforts of TEG Sports and
SANZAAR associated jesters running what is supposed to be a celebration of our great sport. Alas, two seasons in a row, the event has fallen flat on its face. Indeed, as a rugby tragic living in Melbourne it has been absolutely heartbreaking to see the whole concept treated in such a diabolical way. When muppets like an average referee from Canberra but living in Melbourne can come up with myriad different ways to improve the concept, then an allegedly professional company really should be doing things significantly better. Alas, like all things rugby, it is ruined by behind-the-scenes deals for the boyz without a thought or care in the world for the average punter.
Now, in a sort of defence of Melbourne, let’s put things into perspective. Some of the events of the weekend in Melbourne the Super Round was up against included:
- Two x Ed Sheeran concerts, Thursday’s setting an attendance record of 107k, which was then broken on Friday’s concert with 110k, at the ‘G. Twas a fuqing nightmare transport-wise on Friday night with close to 130k folks leaving the Olympic precinct at the same time. Further, there are significant rail works on at least two lines, so cars and trams were overloaded.
- The Australian International Airshow in Avalon returning for the first time in yonks (apparently run more poorly than Super Round, wowzers) which was all but sold out.
- Likely the last weekend of good weather until November 2029.
Events coming up that Melbournians may have more interest in:
- Moomba Festival
- Aerial ping-pong returning
- Melbourne GP at Albert Park
- Comedy Festival
- The Proclaimers
- Dan Andrews being re-elected
- Dominic Perrottet and co being punted from office
- Covid Lockdowns
- Vaccine mandates
- Almond milk lattes
Many of these are far more value-for-money and provide significantly better entertainment at a venue lacking significant atmosphere and family-friendly opportunities. Indeed, the only two things that seemingly improved were the times between games and getting Daryl to sing ‘Horses’. The timeslots required by TV companies didn’t help either.
The point there is that Melbournians are spoiled for choice, especially when it comes to the ‘casual observer’ and having to pick between significant events. I know many rugby families who had Ed Sheeran tickets months ago, before this iteration of Super Round was in TEG’s bollocks. If I weren’t a rugby person I know where my money’d be going. This begs the question as to why rugby would try to match such blockbuster events. I appreciate the desire to get the super round in before the other sports have had a chance to scratch themselves, but, we now have a decidedly winter sport being played in what is essentially still summer.
What’s worse is that there is sweet fuq all advertising, even on public sites like, ‘What’s on Melbourne’ and ‘Events Melbourne’ about the super round. This is even more galling as the Victorian state government is handing out money to any sports they can attract (no problem with that as it keeps things away from bloody Sydney) but the return on investment means rugby is seen as a second-class fixture not worth anyone’s time and effort.
Now, having time to absorb this all, I wonder if there’s any further value on the concept as a whole, and in particular match ups. Sure, the teams were handed 300k to make up for lost revenue (at least they were in 2022 and I doubt much has changed). But this takes away games, on this occasion, like the southern derby between the Crusaders v Highlanders, and a blockbuster between the Brumbies and Blues who, ironically, played in front of the smallest crowd of the weekend, thus doing no justice to what was an excellent match.
So, with my second rant on this still simmering, I ask the wise folks and Hoss: where do we honestly see Super Round going? Is it time to discard the concept as a failure? Do we have to move the event to a different location within the Super teams, e.g., Sydney or Dunedin? Will a change of venue actually increase fan participation, or will it be a lame duck event? Do we get creative and look to move things to say the Pacific Islands or Hong Kong and market the shit out of it like we would for the HK 7s? I don’t think there will be consensus at all (expected) but it’ll be interesting to see how things could be done if the grand old folks on G&GR had their way!