Unless you have been living under a rock this week, you will be aware that the NRL Grand Final will be played this afternoon between the Team that Sydney Loves to Hate (Manly Sea Eagles) and the Team that Sydney Loves to Hate Even More (Melbourne Storm).
Now the NRL and 'certain media interests' know that Manly never draws well when they cross the Spit Bridge and what's more, they are playing an out of state team. Hmmm, how do we get the numbers up? Well, we manufacture a really, really big beat-up, that's how.
So we find that the Melbourne Storm, owned by Newscorp, is to pay a $50,000 fine to the NRL, half owned by Newscorp; the Sydney Daily Telegraph (owned by Newscorp) has stirred up heaps of anti-Melbourne hysteria, rebutted by the Melbourne Herald Sun (owned by Newscorp); The Australian (owned by Newscorp) has anti- rugby league identity Patrick Smith spouting anti-Storm hysteria. Fox Sports (half owned by Newscorp) NRL coverage regularly sticks it to Storm as well. Fox Sports of course runs on the Foxtel platform (which is 25% owned by Newscorp).
We can reasonably conclude that Newscorp knows how to beat-up a story to sell newspapers. And also help out the NRL to flog tickets. Even the NRL judiciary (the precious little darlings) have weighed to to do their bit too, although we suspect that its threatened legal action against Storm will just sorta fade away after the game.
Anyway, may the best team win. And may that team be the mighty Melbourne Storm!