NRL shoot down return of suburban finals

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has shot down calls to bring finals back to suburban ground to boost attendances.

Despite week one of the NRL finals producing brilliant on-field action, attendances were dismal and dwarfed by AFL crowds.

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

The Sydney Swans sold out the SCG with 46,323 fans turning out for the elimination final against Essendon while on the same night just 15,408 attended the all-Sydney Manly-Penrith clash next door at Allianz Stadium.

Manly chairman Scott Penn on the weekend described it as an "absolute disgrace" they were not allowed to play their home final at their spiritual home of Lottoland instead of Moore Park.

Under NRL rules, all Sydney teams must move their home finals in weeks one to three to either Allianz Stadium or ANZ Stadium to allow the greatest number of fans to attend.

Manly and Cronulla, who were both forced to play at Allianz Stadium, would have likely got bigger crowds had they been allowed to play at Lottoland and Southern Cross Group Stadium respectively.

Greenberg said the game should be looking at ways to get bigger crowds at the big stadiums.

"We've spoken about this for a number of years, my simple view is we should be talking the sport up, we should be finding a way to get people to the games rather than finding excuses for them not to come," Greenberg said.

With Parramatta to play at their home ground at ANZ Stadium on Saturday against North Queensland and Brisbane expecting a bumper crowd at Suncorp Stadium on Friday against the Panthers, Greenberg was buoyant attendances would improve in week two.

"I was disappointed with some of the crowds but I'm enthusiastic about the crowds to come in week two and week three," Greenberg said.

He said he expected crowds to improve with forthcoming upgrades to ANZ Stadium, Allianz Stadium and Parramatta Stadium.

"Sydney average crowds have not changed for the best part of two decades," Greenberg said.

"They are usually one or two per cent up or down year on year. That won't change until we make a different decision on stadiums."