'Avoid the scalpers,' Warriors warn fans

By Edward Gay

The Mad Butcher says Warriors fans who have missed out on tickets to Friday's semi-final against the Roosters should watch it on TV, rather than pay scalpers.

Tickets for the match are selling for premium prices on the internet auction website Trade Me.

League ambassador Peter Leitch says it is disgraceful and those selling the tickets are "bloody mongrels".

He says fans should not pay scalpers, no matter how much they want to go, as it will set a bad precedent.

The Australian NRL said today it will cancel tickets sold for more than their face value on internet trading sites if they find out the ticket numbers.

Prospective sellers are listing multiple tickets that are running into the hundreds of dollars.

Tickets to the game at Mt Smart Stadium sold out earlier today after only being an hour on sale.

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said any ticket found to have been scalped would be voided and the holder denied entry to Mt Smart Stadium.

He said this was the same as happened when the Warriors last hosted a playoff match, against Parramatta last year.

The club had done everything practicable to stop scalping, but couldn't stop tickets being advertised on-line and "unfortunately Trade Me are very unsupportive about doing anything about it".

He said the rush on tickets was "even more amazing" than against the Eels last season, with the public allocation gone "within 15 minutes".

Two tickets being sold together for the East Stand have already attracted a bid for $425 but not all Trade Me punters are happy.

One has already threatened the seller.

"What goes around comes around for losers like you! Might deliberately win your auction - fool you into believing that I'm a genuine buyer and not turn up with the cash! Of course (sic) I wont be bidding under this account - shame on you scalper."

Another fan also expressed anger at a seller with two tickets with a current bid of $355.

"You make me and a lot of other Warrior and Roosters fans sick!!!!!! You can't be a true supporter!"

Another poster supported the seller: "Hi, I don't know why everyone gets all upset with people doing this with Warriors tickets...there are all sorts of tickets on here for sale but no one moans about them!"

Other posters have threatened violence.

NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said cancelling tickets is the best method to stop scalpers taking advantage of the real fans.

"We would certainly urge fans not to purchase from scalpers as they risk arriving at the venue to find their ticket has been cancelled."

He said the NRL has been lobbying the New South Wales government to pass laws similar to Queensland where on-selling tickets for more than the face value plus 20 per cent is illegal.

Jacqui Hogan had been trying to buy tickets on Trade Me today but said the prices were now out of her league.

She said many of the people selling tickets were season ticket holders, who had the first opportunity to buy tickets. She said they had bought extra tickets and put them up for auction online.

"I've followed the Warriors for so many years but when it comes to the big game... I'm just holding off until tomorrow, they're going to release more tickets tomorrow," Ms Hogan said.

One seller is offering four tickets with a buy-now price of $1500.

"These guys scalping on Trade Me, it just p***es me even more," she said.

Trade Me head of business Mike O'Donnell said scalping was not illegal in New Zealand but there could be a question of morality.

"We've got a million auctions going up in a week and to ask somebody their ethical motivations for their sale of an object would be ridiculous for us to try and implement," Mr O'Donnell said.

He said the Government looked at the issue of scalping last year and came up with the Events Management Act that stops ticket scalping for identified events. He said no events have yet been identified but Trade Me anticipates that the Cricket World Series and Rugby World Cup could come under the Act.

Mr O'Donnell said Trade Me would like to ban the practice because it creates headaches for staff in customer services who are bombarded with emails that are often abusive and threatening to those selling tickets.

He said Trade Me has also held a poll on the issue which found 81 per cent supported the selling of tickets on the site.

The Warriors club still has about 1,000 tickets on hold for Warriors and Sydney Roosters season members and will release any remaining tickets at midday tomorrow.

Mt Smart Stadium holds a capacity crowd of 26,000.

- with NZPA, NEWSTALK ZB

- Newstalk ZB

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