Yes, there was live sport on last night

Eto Nabuli of the Reds looks to avoid being tackled by Chance Peni of the Force at nib Stadium. Photo /Getty
Eto Nabuli of the Reds looks to avoid being tackled by Chance Peni of the Force at nib Stadium. Photo /Getty

Maybe it's time to rethink Thursday night games. The NRL and Super Rugby were both in action last night but the two games pulled in woeful crowd numbers.

Despite it being the opening game of the NRL season, the defending champion Sharks hosted the Brisbane Broncos in front of just 11,493 fans, according to AAP. That's below the crowd average of 14,577 the Sharks pulled to Southern Cross Group Stadium last year, a ground that has a capacity of 22,000.

Just over half a stadium filled up for a season opener is not a good look.

Last year the season opened on a Thursday between the Eels and Broncos which pulled in 17,324 at Parramatta's Pirtek Stadium.

The Broncos attracted 36,057 in the season 2015 opener against the Sharks and in 2010 an impressive 48,516 against the Cowboys. Possibly the NRL should look at always having the season opener in Brisbane where the Broncos regularly attract the biggest crowds in the NRL at Suncorp Stadium.

The Broncos won the opening encounter last night 26-18 after going out to a 20-6 lead early in the season half - possibly a popular point for New Zealand viewers to switch off.

Broncos beat Sharks in NRL opener

In Super Rugby action the Force hosted the Reds in a game that kicked off just before midnight NZT. Just over 7000 fans attended the game at nib Stadium (capacity 20,500) which isn't a surprise since the Force hadn't won a game at home since the 2014 season.

The Force will be playing at a 60,000 capacity stadium from next season.

The Super Rugby season opened last Thursday night the Melbourne Rebels hosting the Blues at AAMI Stadium where there was more empty seats than filled with 10,250 in attendance.

On the field, Reds winger Eto Nabuli scored a hat-trick of tries but it wasn't enough to stop his side suffering a 26-19 loss.

But Sef Fa'agase's yellow card in the 67th minute for a no-hands tackle proved costly, with the Force taking the lead via a 69th-minute try to rugby league convert Curtis Rona.

The Reds had a chance to draw it at the death when they pushed for a try in the final few seconds, but the Force won the ball back to secure victory.

The result ended the Force's 10-match losing streak at home.

Force win at home for first time since 2014

- NZ Herald

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