By Richard Cowley, Date: 19/11/13
What is it with some rugby league journalists in Australia? Is business really so bad that they have to stoop so low to get a few more hits on a website and sell a few more newspapers? Surely business can’t be that bad can it? Please tell me that the truth isn’t pushed aside in the quest for a good media beat-up?
Well I can see why business is bad with the amount of rubbish we are fed by so called experts on rugby league. The never-ending negativity of rugby league has pushed a new generation of readers away from these so called experts who we are led to believe love the game but continually bag it at every turn.
Some of the rubbish I have read in the last few days from our so called rugby league experts makes me feel sick as a rugby league fan. The misinformation is unbelievable! Do they take us for idiots? Do they even do any research what-so-ever before they begin their rant? By all means call a spade a spade but don’t distort the truth to drive your own agenda. People see through it and you make yourself look like a tool!
So where were these critics for the first three weeks of the Rugby League World Cup? Hello anybody out there? Hello anyone at all? What about the record breaking TV ratings in the UK and the excellent ratings back in Australia? What about all those games that were sold out and all the ground records that have been broken across Ireland, Wales, England and France? What about all those competitive games that went down to the wire? What about the massive media exposure rugby league has received outside of England, Australia and New Zealand? Even the Wiggles jumped on board. Yet some Aussie Journalists will skip all this good stuff and come out with some uninformed dribble that I would expect from someone in grade 7 at high school.
They must of been hiding in a cold dark place waiting to find something, anything to bring rugby league down one last time before the year is out. Even in the lead up to the quarter final fixtures the critics still had nothing. The tournament in many eyes is a raging success and everyone has been getting behind the minnows. This is what the World Cup is really about. It’s a celebration of rugby league and giving those smaller nations a chance to live the dream on the big stage. It’s also there to give the game much needed exposure outside of the usual strongholds. The great news is the World Cup has already achieved this.
In the UK they have recorded record crowds in non-traditional rugby league areas. Outside of the UK the USA team has received some great exposure back home from the media. On the eve of their semi-final berth Fiji have announced a 4 Million dollar sponsorship deal with Vodaphone. These are great stories and there are many more. But would any of this be possible without a World Cup? Are those same critics who bag the game even remotely interested in the positives?
As expected by everyone, the World Cup quarter-finals were going to produce some big score-lines. It happens in every competition in the World. It even happens in the NRL but do we throw in the towel and call the NRL a farce? Should we reduce the NRL to 4 teams just to make it competitive as ever at the expense of the 12 other teams and their fans? Of course not and the same thing applies to the Rugby League World Cup. It’s one of those captain obvious moments that makes you question the validity of their argument.
The next two weeks are exciting times for Rugby League. The minnow rugby league nation of Fiji is taking on the might of Australia at Wembley stadium in London. For these players it doesn’t get much better than this. It will be a once in a life time experience for most players. This is what makes this world cup so special. Go and ask the players and fans of all competing nations and they will tell you the World Cup is worth having. It is much bigger than the NRL. It’s truly rugby league on a global stage and is what gives rugby league the advantage over some of its domestic competitors.
The host nation England will take on the current World Champions New Zealand in the opening match at Wembley. This game is going to have 70,000 + people at the game. A win for England would be a shot in the arm for Rugby League in the UK. A win for New Zealand would back up the claim that they should be the favourites for this tournament.
But don’t be surprised if we get the same rubbish journalism once again that will focus on a lopsided result, empty seats or even legitimacy of the tournament itself. Because deep down inside they don’t really love rugby league. Writing rubbish is just a job to them nothing more and nothing less. They will lay the boot in whenever possible to stir up the rugby league fans. Then a few days later they will publish a feel good article to make us all feel good again. Why? Because they know rugby league fans are the most passionate fans of all.
Next time someone retweets or shares an article full of dribble from one of these so called rugby league loving critics just ignore it. Don’t give them any exposure what-so-ever. Eventually the Australian media organisations rolling out this rubbish will realise they are pushing readers away and doing massive brand damage to their organisations. There are other sources to get your rugby league fix from. The added bonus is they cover the game in a much more informative light. People have already started voting with their feet and I suggest you as a reader of all thing rugby league do the same.