Spread games to build anticipation
WHEN I arrived at Frank McGuren Field on Sunday it took me ages to find a seat on or near the halfway line.
Which I’m not complaining about, and I dare say nor are the Grafton Ghosts.
The grandstands were packed to the rafters with supporters from both teams as the local derby between the Ghosts and Rhinos got under way in brilliant sunshine.
Former Rebels and Ghosts hard man Viv Hodge would have been smiling from above as both teams went hammer and tong in front of their adoring fans.
It proved once again the local derby is a huge financial bonus for Clarence Valley clubs.
Last season the Ghosts and Rhinos met in round three of the NRRRL competition and did not square off against each other until the final round game in late August.
But here we have the biggest rivals in the competition playing each other within the first six rounds in 2011.
Add to that a clash for third and fourth place in the pre-season Charity Shield and the Rhinos and Ghosts players must be sick of seeing the sight of each other.
Each year fans love nothing better than witnessing these two teams clash near the business end of the season. It makes for some mouth-watering stuff.
After overpowering the Rhinos 66-16 in round three last season the two teams aimed up in a return bout in the final round of the competition.
One side was desperate to keep its unbeaten record intact, the other needed to sneak into the final series on percentages.
As it turned out the Ghosts won the game 38-24 and the Rhinos did just enough to grab a semi-final birth against Cudgen.
It was sporting theatre at its best.
Maybe next year the administrators of the NRRRL should take into account the fierce rivalry between the two clubs and do the right thing by everyone involved and spread the games out.