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NRL CEO Dave Smith and Buzz. Pt 1

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by mozgrame, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. mozgrame

    mozgrame Well-Known Member

    +5,118 /51
    IN an in-depth interview with Phil Rothfield, NRL CEO Dave Smith opens up on the golden point, new stadiums, the TV deal and the future of the game.

    BUZZ: I guess you’d still be on a high from that amazing grand final.

    SMITH: Yes, it was very special. The game and the whole event was. The excitement and edge-of-your-seat stuff was amazing. Cold Chisel added to the whole day. I’m really proud of it. The way Sydneysiders got behind it was incredible.

    We had nearly 25,000 from interstate and 80 per cent of people at the stadium had travelled more than three hours to get there. I’ve had so many comments from casual fans who said it was exceptional, fast and furious with loads of tries.

    BUZZ: What did you think of the golden point argument that Wayne Bennett raised after the game? Personally I thought he behaved like a sore loser.

    SMITH: The spectacle and excitement at the end was first rate. A lot of people support golden point and so do a lot of the coaches. If you were going to change it you’d have to push it through the competition committee and have it well discussed.

    I can’t see it happening any time soon. Somebody has got to win and somebody has got to lose. I’m not sure it’s in the fans’ best interests to replay a game. It’s hard to recreate it the following week.

    BUZZ: Are you disappointed Bennett stole some of the Cowboys glory by raising it when he did?

    SMITH: No, I’ve got enormous respect for Wayne. I chatted to him in the sheds after the game. At the end of the day they lost but were part of something special.

    BUZZ: I’m glad the grand final was at ANZ. Under your plan for a 60,000 seater in Moore Park, 25,000 fans would have missed seeing the best grand final ever.

    SMITH: What I’m convinced of is that the $1.6 billion that is to be invested by the government is really substantial and will create a network of stadiums. The geographic spread and the size of all the stadiums is what our game needs.
    For traditional home and away games you have the right size venues and if it’s a big event you’ve got that option as well. We’ll put our big events, as you saw with the MCG this year, to different fan bases. Importantly we’ll use the right stadium for the right event.

    BUZZ: But if you’re getting $1.6 billion from the government, how can you take a grand final away from ANZ?

    SMITH: Look at Origin — every three years we have one in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. That make complete sense to me. Both NSW and Queensland get two games every three years but we’re still allowing the game to grow outside the traditional areas. You’ve got to be ambitious with expansion as well.

    BUZZ: You told me six weeks ago you are here for the long haul. Others tell me that’s not the case. Are you getting on with John Grant? I’m hearing you’re not.

    SMITH: John and I have a good working relationship but that doesn’t mean we always agree. You asked me when I first came into this job whether I am my own man. Well I am. You consult and you listen but you’ve got to run your own race in the end.

    BUZZ: You sure you’re OK with him? There haven’t been a few issues?

    SMITH: No, we have differences of opinion and we have for the three years I’ve been here. That’s natural and that’s normal. I’m not pushing hard enough if we don’t disagree sometimes.

    State of Origin II at the MCG was a huge success for the NRL.Source:News Corp Australia

    BUZZ: So you are here for the long haul?

    SMITH: I’ve always said as long as I’m making a difference I’ll stay. When someone else can do the job better than me, I’ll know when it’s time and I’ll go.

    BUZZ: You’ve had a tough year. The TV deal, clubs blowing up, crowds down. The game really needed that great grand final.

    SMITH: On the crowds we’ll end up about 2 per cent down.

    BUZZ: They were the lowest for 10 years.

    SMITH: You can look at the positives, too, like the biggest crowds ever for Origin and also the biggest ever for the finals series. It was phenomenal considering there wasn’t two big Sydney teams at the end. You look back at the weather and other things ….

    BUZZ: But your strategic plan said crowds were going to grow. They are going backwards.

    SMITH: For the last 20 years over the full season, it has been plus or minus 2 per cent. The average crowd has always been around 16,500. We have 300,000 members this year for the first time. We have a wider base of people watching the game. More women and girls.

    When you build infrastructure that’s in the right place, like Melbourne or Adelaide, where they have these bigger crowds, we’ll get more people to the games. No one wants to be stuck in a car park for two hours. We’re going to get stadiums with the facilities our fans deserve. You’ll see the fan base build. We’ll get our 20,000 and 30,000 fans.

    BUZZ: But you’ve got too many Sydney clubs. That’s why the crowds aren’t growing.

    SMITH: Yes, they’ve been there a long time.

    BUZZ: You’re going to have to make a tough call one day.

    SMITH: What we’re doing with the clubs is working with them closely. It’s no secret the majority are not profitable. We’re looking at funding models now. The litmus test will be in about 10 years when we have the stadiums and the right funding.


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