For the year 2000, the merger of Sydney's Western Suburbs and Balmain clubs led to the formation of the Wests Tigers. Also, North Sydney combined with Manly to create the Northern Eagles (still referred to here as Manly). From a high of 22 teams in 1997, it was now down to just 14.
Brisbane won the league from the Sydney Roosters and did the double over them in the grand final. Brisbane's average match figure was 21,000 and the total average was 14,400.
2001 saw Sydney's Paramatta win the league from the Sydney Bulldogs. Newcastle then defeated Para in the GF. Average attendances dropped to 13,300 and no side managed to break the 20k mark.
In 2002, had the return of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, making it 15 teams. Sydney Bulldogs were punished for a salary cap breach that cost them 37 competition points. The New Zealand Warriors took the league title with Newcastle second. The Sydney Roosters won the GF over the Warriors. Brisbane and Newcastle had the best gates and the average passed 13,000.
For 2003, golden point extra time was introduced for league games (ridiculous in my view). Penrith surprised by winning the league and grand final double over the Sydney Roosters in both instances. Match attendances were close to 14,500 on average with Brisbane and the Bulldogs both bettering 20,000 on average.
2004 witnessed the Sydney Roosters win the league from the Bulldogs. The tables were reversed in the GF. Average attendances were nearly 14,700 and Brisbane closed in on the 30,000 mark.
|NRL Attendances 2000-04|
|Rk||Club / Year||Tot||2004||2003||2002||2001||2000|