Channel 9 Rugby League commentators appear to have bowed to social media outrage.
The talking-heads seem to have thought footy fans tuned in to hear about them and not the game. For years they have steadily gotten worse – waffling about any triviality and ignoring the athletic spectacle unfolding before them.
As commentators they were (and still are) an embarrassment. No other sporting coverage so flagrantly ignores the event it is meant to broadcast. Any worker, in any occupation, who exhibited such dereliction would be fired instantly – and deserve it.
Until now Channel 9 had chosen to ignore the mounting criticism.
But one or two comments in media-watch articles and radio talkback programs found responsive ears. Footy fans tired of hearing about Ray Hadley’s hair cream or Ray Warren’s lunch decided to make their frustrations known.
And what began as a trickle has become an avalanche.
Prior to Sunday the commentators only talked about the game when play was within 20 meters of a try line. On Sunday, they made an effort to do their jobs and call the game.
By the standards of broadcasts of other codes it was still a piss-poor effort. I counted 38 diversions from the game at hand; each of which averaged about a minute (almost half the game); none of it of any interest or relevance to the match being played.
Sadly for NRL fans this is a meteoric improvement on the weekly game-commentary up to this point.
Channel 9 needs to sack their NRL commentary team – all of them. They are doing a disservice to the game, its players, and the fans.
Moreover, Channel 9 needs to make their broadcasts about the football, not the advertising. There isn’t a square inch of space at the grounds, on the players’ jerseys, or on the TV screens that isn’t used to advertise something.
The entire broadcast is insulting.