Have your say on the new NRL commercial.
Following a concerted attack on rugby league's heartland by rival codes, the NRL has gone back to its roots to promote the game during the 2009 season.
Using the catch-cry "Feel It" the NRL’s annual advertising campaign features the images of two young boys playing rugby league in a suburban park. The song is a re-worked version of Australian Idol winner Wes Carr's "Feels Like Whoa."
As they contest the game they love, they morph into the League’s biggest stars, Manly's Brett Stewart and Melbourne's Greg Inglis, as a packed stadium emerges around them.
Seven-year-old Penrith junior Cameron Lloyd and 14-year-old La Perouse junior Alex Johnston play the main roles in the campaign, but the message to all juniors is clear: chase your dreams.
The grass roots imagery may also suggest the NRL is in danger of losing its next generation of stars, especially in Sydney's western suburbs and the Gold Coast where AFL and football bosses are mounting aggressive expansion plans.
The commercial was officially launched in Sydney ahead of tonight’s season kick-off in The Domain, with more than 100 NRL club members invited to attend the event.
"At a time when there are plenty of challenges for people in the world, it's sometimes the simple things that stand out as being important,'' NRL chief executive David Gallop said, explaining the theory behind the campaign.
"And an afternoon or an evening getting behind your team at a rugby league game is one of those simple escapes in life.
"Almost all of us can remember trying to do what the stars have just done, whether it's Greg Inglis passing a ball mid air over his head or Brett Stewart miraculously passing between his legs or Darren Lockyer weaving his way past blokes twice his size.''
The AFL invests around $60million into the Sydney market and the push is on for a second team to rival the Swans, based in the west which is the traditional rugby league heartland and currently home to two NRL clubs – Penrith and Parramatta.
Last year, the AFL struggled to attract strong crowds to ANZ Stadium at Homebush, while matches played at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast failed to attract crowds in excess of 10,000.
Around 9000 junior players are registered by Football NSW in Sydney's west – similar figures to those presented by the Australian Rugby League development officers regarding the number of kids who took part in school holiday clinics Australia-wide in July 2008.
The most successful advertising campaign in rugby league history remains the famous "Simply the Best" commercials which ran in the early 1990's starring Tina Turner. Hit and miss campaigns have followed with Thomas Keneally reciting poetry and the re-working of the Hoodoo Guru's song "What's my Scene" to "That's my Team." With nearly a decade having passed since the giddy heights of "Simply the Best", League chiefs are desperately hoping this latest commercial might just do the trick.
How do you rate the 2009 NRL commercial?