National Rugby League Says Finals Double-Header Was First Choice
The National Rugby League "has defended its decision to schedule a finals double-header and insisted it was the league's preference to host two games at Allianz Stadium on the same day," according to Michael Chammas of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. It was believed "a scheduling clash" with the Australian Football League at ANZ Stadium "forced the NRL to play the double header at Allianz Stadium on Saturday." However, the NRL "revealed it was their priority to play South Sydney out of ANZ Stadium in the prime time Friday night timeslot." The NRL "was keen to avoid a repeat of the past two seasons when Manly hosted home finals at Allianz Stadium for crowds of 16,678 and 13,972, and believe the double-header will provide the best spectacle for the game." NRL GM of Football Operations Nathan McGuirk said, "When the double header became an option, we embraced the idea" (SMH, 9/10).