Rugby league to rule the roost in NZ, says academic
A University of Western Sydney sports psychologist says whatever the result of the NRL grand final between the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors on Sunday, the big winner will be the game of rugby league.
"Even if the Warriors lose, their appearance in the grand final will be a major boost to the code in a country dominated by rugby union," Associate Professor Patsy Tremayne says.
"At the moment, rugby league is largely limited to the Auckland area, but there's likely to be a lot more interest in the sport in New Zealand now.
"It will also help bolster support for the game in Australia. The fact that a New Zealand side has made the final has probably given a lot of supporters a scare, and may help foster player development programs here," she says.
Associate Professor Tremayne says fans will also play an important role in lifting their respective teams to victory.
"There is a very diverse base of supporters in Australia, and I don't think it will simply be a case of 'Australia versus New Zealand'. Many Australian supporters may decide to back the Warriors on their recent form alone. The Warriors also feature several Australian players."
Associate Professor Tremayne is predicting a close result.
"Both clubs have different reasons for giving it their all in Sunday's final. The Roosters have some injury concerns, which will dominate their mental preparation for the game. The Warriors may be better-rested, but have had to come to Sydney earlier than planned this week, and being away from your home ground for important games like this can affect performance."
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