The NRL’s finals crowds are up 16 per cent on last season, despite widespread criticism of attendance figures.

The NRL’s finals crowds are up 16 per cent on last season despite widespread criticism of attendance figures.

Over the opening six games of the final series this season, 140,073 fans have walked through the turnstiles at the three venues used so far – Allianz Stadium, 1300 Smiles Stadium and AAMI Park.

That averages out at 23,346 fans over the six games, a significant increase on the 120,928 who attended the corresponding fixtures in 2013 at an average of 20,155 per game.

Critics were quick to compare last weekend’s week two NRL finals attendances at Allianz Stadium of 18,355 at the Sydney Roosters v North Queensland match and the 28,186 at Manly v Canterbury (total 46,541) with the 48,029 the Sydney Swans drew for their ANZ Stadium preliminary final against North Melbourne on Saturday night.

But that NRL total also exceeds that of week two last year, which was 43,486.

Head of football Todd Greenberg has publicly stated the NRL would’ve liked to have pulled bigger crowds for their finals thus far.

Further comparisons have been made with the rival code as last weekend’s SANFL grand final drew 38,644 people, the VFL’s decider 23,816 and even the WAFL grand final attracting 11,987 spectators in poor weather.

But with four Sydney teams playing in the NRL’s preliminary finals for the first time, rugby league’s governing body is confident of bumper crowds in excess of a combined 100,000 for this weekend’s ANZ Stadium matches between South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters and Penrith and Canterbury.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted on Monday that the premiers would have liked to have had a bigger crowd for their thrilling 31-30 win over North Queensland at Allianz Stadium on Friday.

But given last year’s minor premiership showdown between the Roosters and Souths drew 59,708 to the Olympic venue on a Friday night, Robinson was hopeful of a similarly impressive turnout to see who wins through to next week’s grand final.

“Between Souths and Roosters, I think there were 50-60,000 round 26 out there (last time),” Robinson said.

“So I think this year given the context of this game, (the crowd will be similar).

“I think we’ll be outnumbered somehow by the Souths supporters.

“But I’d be proud to see some Roosters out there supporting us and to get around 60-70,000. It’d be nice.”



Week 2

1st semi-final – Sydney Roosters v North Queensland, Allianz Stadium, 18,355

2nd semi-final – Manly v Canterbury, Allianz Stadium, 28,186

Week 1

2nd qualifying final – Manly v South Sydney, Allianz Stadium, 25,733

1st qualifying final – Sydney Roosters v Penrith, Allianz Stadium, 23,449

1st elimination final – North Queensland v Brisbane, 1300 Smiles Stadium, 25,120

2nd elimination final – Melbourne v Canterbury, AAMI Park, 19,230

2014 total: 140,073

Average: 23,346 (up 16 per cent on 2014)


Week 2

1st semi-final – Manly v Cronulla, Allianz Stadium, 23,837

2nd semi-final – Melbourne v Newcastle, AAMI Park, 19,649

Week 1

2nd qualifying final – South Sydney v Melbourne, ANZ Stadium, 21,609

1st elimination final – Cronulla v North Queensland, Allianz Stadium, 32,747 (double header)

1st qualifying final – Sydney Roosters v Manly, Allianz Stadium, 32,747 (double header)

2nd elimination final – Canterbury v Newcastle, ANZ Stadium, 23,086

2013 total: 120,928

Average: 20,155