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Where Are The Crowds For Sydney's NRL Final Series?

NRL officials will be desperate to draw a big crowd to Parramatta's home semi-final at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, after the code's finals attendances were dwarfed by the AFL last weekend.

NRL and AFL finals will be played side by side for a second weekend in a row in Sydney on Saturday.

Last Saturday, the Sydney Swans sold out the SCG with 46,323 fans turning out for the elimination final against Essendon.

In contrast, on the same night, just 15,408 attended the all-Sydney Manly-Penrith clash next door at Allianz Stadium - with the Moore Park venue attracting just 52,735 fans in the three matches it hosted over the weekend.

However, the NRL is likely to save some face at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night when Parramatta host North Queensland.

The clash will be Eels' first home final in eight years at a venue with a capacity that far outnumbers that of Spotless Stadium for Greater Western Sydney's clash with West Coast.

The NRL tried all they could to draw fans to matches in the opening week of the finals.

Club buses, free public transport, all-you-can-eat ticket offers and cheap entry are among the fan-based initiatives being used to try and get fans to Moore Park games.

Fans who did attend matches also witnessed the closest week of opening round of finals matches since 1996.

Yet the crowds for the Saturday night match and Cronulla's loss to North Queensland on Sunday were the two lowest in finals football since 2011.

The NRL's aggregate figure of 75,361 across all four games was also the lowest week-one figure since 2008, when three of the four matches were held at suburban grounds.

It follows a year of lows for NRL attendances, who weren't helped by Brisbane not hosting a finals match.

In comparison, the AFL drew 235,328 fans at an average of 58,832 per match to continue their record-breaking season.

The NRL's numbers should rise again next week at least. Along with Parramatta's ANZ Stadium clash, Brisbane will almost certainly sell out Suncorp Stadium for their semi-final with Penrith, The Sydney Roosters and Melbourne will then again host matches in week three of the finals, before the October 1 grand final at ANZ Stadium.


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