NRL-The Rivalry: The Maroons' Greatest Victories (2003)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||109:55 (Case: 100)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
Visual Entertainment Group
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, Sponsor ads.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Ah, the joy of watching the Mighty Maroons thump the Cockroaches for close on two hours - this is what sports DVDs should be all about! What, you want to know what I am talking about? Sorry, I sometimes forget that the real passion for rugby league is limited to two states of a minor country buried away in one corner of Oceania.
OK, once upon a time interstate games of rugby league used to be played between teams chosen on the basis of the state where the players were currently playing. As the competition was based in Sydney, the best players all played in New South Wales (NSW) and so they used to thump Queensland (The Maroons of the title) regularly when they met. This was very annoying to those of us who lived in Queensland, as many of our best players were lured by the almighty dollar and ended up going south of the border to play in Sydney. Finally, someone had the bright idea of selecting a team based on the state where the player first played the game, and so "State of Origin" games were born. Lo and behold, Queensland won their first interstate game in years under the new format and The Rivalry was on.
This DVD traces the history of Queensland victories over NSW since the first Origin match in 1980. If you have any interest in rugby league then you will see it played at the highest level in the highlights on offer here. Some of the best players of modern times have pulled on the Maroon shirt, including names such as Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga and Alan Langer, and they were at their peak in Origin games. The disc also includes some amazing last minute victories in which Queensland went the length of the field to break the hearts of NSW fans everywhere - wonderful moments indeed. The only minor issue I have with the programme is that it focuses on people scoring points, and could also have featured some of the last-ditch defense which won a match or three as well. A minor point.
Oh, apparently there is also a DVD available which includes highlights of the occasional match which NSW won (usually due to dodgy refereeing), but it must be a fairly short disc and would hardly be worth your time. No, if you are a true fan of rugby league in Australia then this is the DVD to buy. There are no extras, and the picture and sound are true to their TV origins, but the highlights are so exciting that the disc is well worth the asking price. Go the Mighty Maroons!!
The footage on this DVD is taken from TV broadcasts up to 24 years old, and some of it looks its age. With that in mind the picture is generally in reasonable shape.
The aspect ratio on offer is 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced, which is the original aspect ratio as first broadcast.
The quality of the picture varies based on its age, though surprisingly some of the later footage looks as old as some of the earlier shots. The transfer looks like what it is, TV quality video tape transcribed to DVD, so that focus is a little on the soft side (see 1:10 as an example), with some of the older stock looking a little fuzzy around the edges (as at 40:32). Bear in mind the fact that I viewed the disc on a projection TV with a large screen - on a 68 cm TV or less the picture looks a lot sharper (and the shot of the sweat beading on Mal Meninga's brow at 47:42 looked OK on my screen as well).
Colours are generally fresh enough, though they still have a bit of a video feel to them, so that they can appear faded at times. In crowd scenes shadow detail can be poor, as are the colours, though this is due to the matches being played at night under floodlights, so that there is little ambient light in the crowd.
Damage on the print is minimal given the age of some of the footage. There is the occasional negative and positive artefact on offer, but they do not detract from a generally acceptable picture.
There are no subtitles on offer.
As with the video, the audio transfer reflects the state of the original "live" sports broadcasts which are the basis of this disc, which is adequate and nothing more. There is also an occasional audio overlay (narrated by Andrew Voss) introducing each match, with accompanying music.
The only audio track on the disc is an English Dolby Digital mono track encoded at a bitrate of 192 Kb/s.
The original track commentary varies in volume and quality but is always acceptably clear. The narration is well matched in volume to the original commentary and fits nicely into the flow of the main program. Audio sync is not really an issue, except in the occasional post-match interviews in which it is spot on.
The uncredited music is minimal and plays quietly in the background during the narration. You probably won't even notice it unless you listen out for it, which is OK by me. The music volume is fine.
There is no surround presence and no subwoofer activity, but the noise from the crowd sounds quite full. The crowds in Brisbane in particular really get into the spirit of the game (after all, we are watching the home side flog the opposition), and this comes across well on the disc.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no Extras on offer here, though there is a segment in the middle of the match highlights called "Thunderous Hits" which almost qualifies. Unfortunately they have added artificial "thud" sounds on each tackle, which is really annoying.
The main menu is static and allows you to play the entire disc or go to a particular game (there are 27 chapter stops).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD is produced in Australia and is only available as a PAL release playable in all regions.
As you have probably gathered from the main review I am a dyed-in-the-wool Queensland supporter and enjoyed this DVD immensely. For fans it is well worth the asking price, and well worth playing when you have friends over who support NSW to remind them who is the best team (unless they bring over their disc of great NSW victories). The picture and sound are average, reflecting their television origins, but they are entirely acceptable in quality. A pity there are no Extras (we could have had player biographies, team lists and the like) but if you are a fan of the game, take a look at this DVD.
Addendum: The narrator on this disc happens to mention Manchester United's home pitch of Old Trafford, and the fact that it is known in soccer circles as the "Theatre of Dreams," by way of comparison with the home of Queensland rugby league. Coincidentally, the only sports team I feel more passionately about than Queensland is Manchester United. I just happen to be reviewing a DVD following their progress during the 1999/2000 season as I write, so check back with me soon to take a look at that one as well (yes, it will be another wonderfully unbiased sports review, trust me).
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|