5 Mar 2009

Gallop says NRL clubs can survive this year, with the publics help

6:28 am on 5 March 2009

National Rugby League chief executive David Gallop says the league has safeguards to prevent clubs falling victim to the credit crunch as Cronulla boss Tony Zappia admits it is a "make or break" year for the Sharks.

The Sharks are one of several NRL clubs struggling in the current financial crisis and Zappia says it's imperative that crowd numbers rise dramatically this year with the club eyeing an average home attendance of more than 15,000.

Membership at the Sharks is about 3,300 - amongst the lowest in the league.

Gallop says membership and attendance are two key areas for the game in 2009 and says the NRL is well set up to withstand the financial climate considering it had been "belt-tightening" since the poker machines taxes were introduced a few years ago.

Yesterday Gallop unveiled the NRL's new advertising campaign based around the "park to premiership" theme at a season launch in Sydney.

Set to the song "Feels like Woah" by Australian Idol Wes Carr, the advertisement is aimed at the rugby league's grassroots fan base to inspire them to attend matches and play the game.

Meanwhile, Aussie Home Loans yesterday confirmed they would takeover Wizard Home Loans' sponsorship of the NSW Origin team for the next two years.