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Raiders left out of Nine's coverage


Chris Dutton

Images like this one, with Sandor Earl celebrating a Raiders try in the 2012 NRL finals series, will be hard to find on television in 2013 if you're a Raiders fan. The Raiders are expected to only receive one free to air match in the first 20 rounds of the competition.

Images like this one, with Sandor Earl celebrating a Raiders try in the 2012 NRL finals series, will be hard to find on television in 2013 if you're a Raiders fan. The Raiders are expected to only receive one free to air match in the first 20 rounds of the competition. Photo: Melissa Adams

Former Canberra Raiders captain Simon Woolford has called on the ARL Commission to end the club's "ridiculous" exile from free-to-air television coverage.

In a familiar and unwanted trend, the Raiders are set to remain on the Channel Nine blacklist for the next season despite the NRL landing a $1 billion television-rights deal.

Reports emerged yesterday of the draft draw for the first 20 rounds of next year, in which the Raiders are expected to have just one match broadcast on free-to-air.

If the draw is approved, it will continue an unwanted trend of the Raiders being snubbed from the high-rating timeslots and coverage.

Just four of the Green Machine's games were televised on Channel Nine in the past two regular seasons and teams that finished well below the Raiders on the ladder are set to get more coverage next year.

The Raiders lit up the competition with a charge to the finals this season and finished sixth on the ladder before playing a home final.

They had hoped the independent commission would change their free-to-air fortunes when it took over rugby league operations earlier this year.

"People thought a lot of things would happen for the better when the independent commission was formed, but it seems it's just continued stalling," Woolford said.

"It's ridiculous if the boys only get one free-to-air game in 20 rounds.

"I know it's all about ratings and money, but I think our boys showed the type of footy they're capable of playing and it would be nice to get more appearances [on Channel Nine]."

Channel Nine opts against showing live Raiders games to gain higher ratings in Brisbane and Sydney.

After being shunned from the traditional Friday night and Sunday afternoon timeslots, the Raiders had proposed to host a Thursday night fixture in round three.

However, it is unclear whether their wish will be granted, after reports suggested the NRL was planning a grand-final rematch between the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bulldogs in round three.

The Roosters and Rabbitohs will open the season on a Thursday night, while the Eels and Bulldogs will play in the new timeslot in round two.

The Raiders will return to pre-season training in the coming weeks. It's believed assistant coach Justin Morgan is unlikely to return to his role, while playmaker Terry Campese and Brett White, who both had knee reconstructions, will start training today.

Raiders prop White wanted a "fair system" for free-to-air coverage to help Canberra gain greater exposure.

"It's surprising, I realise [Channel Nine] wants the two best teams on free-to-air, but how did you pick who the best teams are this far out?" White said.

"I know the AFL share their television coverage around, you'd expect everyone to have at least two free-to-air games.

"The competition is so even ... I think we did play well at the end of the year, so I expected it would have been a fair system with everyone almost equal."

Raiders chairman John McIntyre said he had not seen the draft draw, but remained hopeful the commission would end Canberra's struggles to break into Channel Nine's programming.

"I was hoping, with the commission coming in, that the city-centric decision-making would disappear," McIntyre said.

"But we don't know what's happening yet; we'll wait to see when the draw comes out."

Woolford feared little could be done to change the schedule.

"Even the Melbourne Storm don't get their fair share of games," Woolford said.

"It's out of the Raiders' control now, they could come out and win 10 games straight and even then they're not going to get free-to-air games because they're [the NRL] locked in for the first 20 games.

"It's unfortunate ... when I was playing it was something we looked forward to and it was like a reward getting a free-to-air game. It's disappointing not to get them."


  • I'm no raiders supporter but I entirely agree with them. Channel Nine's broadcast schedule are a disgrace and they should not be allowed to dictate the games that appear on TV. The NRL needs to put it's foot down and give all teams a fair go. Every one should get a minimum of 2-3 games a year on TV. Also how about making the Broncos play some Monday night games.

    Date and time
    October 29, 2012, 8:59AM
    • The Raiders should blacklist/boycott Channel 9 reporters and TV shows, news, etc

      Date and time
      October 29, 2012, 9:04AM
      • Interesting you say boycott channel nine, how can they boycott if they are never on the footy show and channel nine news.

        Date and time
        October 29, 2012, 11:50AM
    • Maybe it's because Rabbs Warren can't pronouce Huawei or Croker.

      Seriously though, you'd think they would give the Raiders an early round game while Campese is in the side and then a few towards the end of the season when the team usualy fires up.

      On the plus side, Raiders fans will be spared the awful and inane Channel Nine commentary, ad breaks, and gambling talk. Foxsports is so much better you ahve wonder whether quality came into the bid assessment when the ARLC was considering to whom to sell the FTA rights.

      Date and time
      October 29, 2012, 9:26AM
      • Sounds right to me, why should Ch 9 keep the game afloat but not pick the games that get them the best ratings..... Higher ratings mean more advertising dollars which in turn pay the bills for the NRL. Without that money league would be dead!!!!

        Date and time
        October 29, 2012, 9:27AM
        • Focusing on only a few clubs maximises CH9's slice of the cake, by ensuring high ratings in one sector of the TV viewing market. But the size of the cake gets smaller as disgruntled fans switch to Fox Sports.
          The broadcaster has a responsibility in growing the game, as much as the NRL commission and the clubs. By showcasing ALL of the clubs on a regular basis, the popularity of the NRL grows in all of its regions. This leads to better ratings in all regions, and greater advertising revenues for CH9. The cake grows bigger and CH9's slice gets bigger.
          While short sighted, discriminatory strategies have not hurt CH9 yet. Eventually, maybe not even for another ten years, they could lose the broadcasting rights. Meanwhile, the weak willed NRL continues to alienate its own market base by failing to ensure a fair go for all the teams.

          Date and time
          October 29, 2012, 10:23AM
        • Channel 9 has been claiming high league ratings and big advertising $$$ for the last few years, and were lucky to be saved from folding a few weeks ago. That's before they've even paid a cent to the NRL for the new billion dollar deal (and after a highly rating Olympics).
          Maybe if league looked after grassroots more, the NRL and channel 9 would both be doing better rather than close to dying? Part of looking after that grassroots is not to ignore regional broadcast areas (which Canberra is strangely considered one) and not just tell them that they've got the Broncos to look forward to every Friday night.

          WTF Chef
          Date and time
          October 29, 2012, 1:12PM
      • For the lounge-chair Raiders fan with foxtel that is FANTASTIC news. I cant stand channel 9s coverage and foxtel's coverage is far superior in HD.

        Date and time
        October 29, 2012, 9:55AM
        • Agree with YS, I would much rather watch it all on FOX anyway, no ad breaks, better coverage and less biased commentary, lets face it,.. were classed as second class citizens compared to the Sydney/Brisbane clubs. However in Channel 9's defence, we dont really have a right to whinge.. The Raiders (under Furner) have not shown any promise until July/August winning around 20% of games to that point, we just manage to win our last 6 or 7 to scrape in and make it interesting, If we played well from round 1 then we would get more coverage??

          Date and time
          October 29, 2012, 12:07PM
          • I'm glad the Raiders are Foxtel only. It means I don't have to listen to non stop gambling ads and cross promotion of ridiculous shows on Ch Nein, and the worst commentators in the game in Ray Warren, Ray Hadlee and Gus Gould. Its an absolute blessing!

            Juan Benno
            Date and time
            October 29, 2012, 1:03PM

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