Kangaroos dragged into 'abysmal' World Cup farce as fans rage: 'Madness'

Ticket prices (pictured right) are expensive at the Rugby League World Cup and (pictured left) the Kangaroos walking out for a match.
World Cup boss Jon Dutton has hit back over ticket prices after some low attendances at opening games, which follows huge backlash from fans. (Getty Images)

The Rugby League World Cup boss has doubled down on the decision to keep certain ticket prices 'unaffordable' during difficult times, which has seen crowd numbers reduced throughout the opening games.

UK Crowds for a number of early group games have been disappointing, amid criticism of an inability to access the lowest tier of tickets.

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Rugby League fans have taken to social media to blast the ticket prices and claimed some tiers are just unaffordable.

And chief executive Jon Dutton acknowledged on Thursday that hindsight might have yielded a different model to confront the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

However, he also defended the decision.

"We have made some mistakes and we hold our hands up when we make mistakes," said Dutton.

"It we had the opportunity to do this all over again, having gone through the pandemic, would we price stuff differently?

"Yes, but we are now into the cycle, we have customers who bought tickets two years ago and we are comparative at entry level with anything that happens in Super League."

The Rugby League World Cup has received mixed attendances in the opening week.

England's thumping opening win over Samoa drew an attendance of 43,119 at St James' Park, and attracted a peak television audience of two million with a 22 per cent audience share.

England and Samoa during the Rugby League World Cup.
England and Samoa was sold out at the Rugby League World Cup, but other games have struggled for crowd numbers. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images for RLWC) (George Wood via Getty Images)

The hosts' second Group A game at Bolton on Saturday is heading for a sell-out.

But a disappointing crowd of just over 5,000 was present for New Zealand's opening match against Lebanon at Warrington, and empty seats have been a feature at other venues.

Some fans have complained that sections earmarked for the cheapest seats have been empty despite being declared sold-out.

Fans pointed out that there were plenty of empty seats in Australia's opening match against Fiji.

Some viewers claimed tickets were going for as much as 70 pounds ($AUD125) for tickets in the pool stage match.

One fan pointed out that tickets to Australia's next game against Scotland will cost $90 to sit on the 20m line.

Rugby League World Cup disaster

Ticket prices are not the only gripe at this year's World Cup.

The negative narrative began with an electrical failure that cut short the opening ceremony in Newcastle but Dutton is determined it should not overshadow some exceptional sport, like Tonga's epic group win over Papua New Guinea watched by an impressive 10,000-plus crowd.

"The focus for us is to move forward now," said Dutton of the incident at St James' Park.

"Personally, I was absolutely devastated by what happened.

"My disappointment is that I don't want to take away from what is happening on the field of play.

"This has been many years in the making, and to stand in that stadium and watch that Tonga v PNG game on Tuesday was a personal high moment for me."

with AAP

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