The Kiwis bolted out of Mile High Stadium in Colorado with the lyrics to Bob Seeger’s Get Out of Denver ringing in their ears, as they fell to s superior side of British players who did not have to fly 17 hours to get there.
The Brits won 36 – 18 in front of a sparse crowd that would have embarrassed The Gabba when the Brisbane Lions host the St. Kilda Saints.
Promoters were so desperate to fill seats that tickets could be had for as little as $15 and there were package plans that included free tickets. In all probability, the money taken in from ticket sales was not equal to the cost of airlifting the two teams there.
By contrast, trying to obtain tickets to the stadium when the Denver Broncos are having a game often turns into a seemingly endless bidding war, with tickets printed with a $90 face value frequently fetch as much as $500. That price is for a poor seat against a weak team; despite the fact the Broncos are currently a lower rung team.
The topic of mid-season international Tests again reared its head. It is a matter of doubt if the promoters behind the concept will want to continue with the remainder of the three-year deal to try to gain exposure for rugby in the U.S.
The Kiwis fielded a team made up of simply average NRL players. When factors such as defections and international retirements are entered into the equation, there simply is not enough depth to fill the New Zealand squad and live up to the reputation that has been the birthright of Kiwis for decades.
The NRL clubs that wailed and moaned about giving up players right in the heart of the run home, while at the same time contributing players for State of Origin, have a valid point in questioning why they must tolerate their fixture being turned upside down.
It would be obvious that the solution is to schedule exhibitions such as these after the seasons, but apparently not obvious enough.