Despite Covid-19 restricting the number of spectators allowed at McDonalds Park on Sunday for the five Group 9 deciders, the competition has smashed the previous mark for gate takings.
Group 9 took $42,000 for both tickets to the game and subscriptions to watch the online broadcast of the game, which bettered the previous mark of $34,000 for the 2019 grand final.
Group 9 chairman Peter McDermott said the online broadcast was successful, and while there were a few hiccups in their first year of broadcasting games, it was definitely the way of the future.
“I think we have showed that this is the way going forward and another avenue for people to watch games, hopefully we can get some statistics at the end of the season and see how many people outside the group watched it,” McDermott said.
“We know that it is bringing people to the game that would never ever have had an avenue to watch it because they were too far away and It’s definitely the way forward and something that we need to keep trialling and getting better at, but I don’t think it will go anywhere.”
In a common compliment made by club representatives and players on the day, Group 9 were praised for running a successful day and season.
“It’s definitely a big pat on the back to everyone and that is reflected in the gate today,” McDermott said.
“Just the way the whole competition has been run was really good, the clubs are keen to play and people have just wanted to get out and see some footy.”
The Group 9 chairman did thank NSWRL Bidgee Region Manager, Dave Skinner for his assistance this season, suggesting that without him, Group 9 would not have played a game, let along hosted a record grand final audience.
“It’s a big thing playing this season, let alone today, and I need to give Dave skinner a big rap from NSW Rugby League,” McDermott said.
“He did a lot of work with us and as many people know, he is charge of the Bidgee area and there are only two comps that got up and running in that area and we are pretty proud to be one of them.”
McDermott reaffirmed that Group 9 was one of, if not the strongest NSWRL country competition running at this current time.
“I think we were one of the strongest anyway, and I think today we proved we are the strongest at the moment,” McDermott said.
“It will be very interesting to see how many of these players from other groups come back and play here, because the comment I have had from a lot of them is that they are quite impressed with how strong the footy was and how good the grounds and faculties were.”