The match of the season – but only for us!

Martyn Sadler
By Martyn Sadler March 20, 2014 16:20

The match of the season – but only for us!

Tonight we will see a Grand Final re-match.
Warrington Wolves versus Wigan Warriors at the Halliwell Jones Stadium!
Doesn’t it just get the blood tingling!
Can the Wolves get their revenge for their Grand Final defeat last year?
Can Wigan win without Sean O’Loughlin and Micky McIlorum?
Will this be the night that Warrington’s young halfback Gareth O’Brien really comes of age to impose himself on the Super League title holders?
Will we see Wigan fullback Matty Bowen score another scorching try, such as the one he scored over 90 metres against Hull Kingston Rovers last Friday?
It is surely a great and mouthwatering prospect!
But where is the fanfare for what will surely be a great match, both for a live audience and the couch potatoes who prefer to watch from their sofas?
Wherever it is, its echo is a very slight one. The media in general doesn’t seem to have picked up the buzz that should be in the air and audible to all.
On Monday night I attended the annual dinner of the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group, and I shared a table with, among others, Alex Butler, the sports editor of the Sunday Times.
Butler more or less made it clear that Rugby League will probably never feature in his newspaper, partly, to be fair, because we don’t usually play games on Saturday. But more relevantly because he doesn’t believe that many people who read his newspaper are interested in Rugby League.
And, to judge from the lack of any Rugby League in today’s Daily Telegraph or The Independent (I have only seen the ‘I’ version of the Indy, so apologies if I have this wrong), the feeling is shared with sports editors almost across the board.
So even our biggest games seem unable to pique the interest of the people who count in what used to be known as Fleet Street.
So much for the success of the recent World Cup in changing the mindset of these people! I am afraid that we still seem to be the outcasts of the British sporting scene in the minds of some of those people.
We may be currently  the second most watched sport on Sky Sports, and it’s great that we are, but that doesn’t seem to cut any ice with people like Mr Butler, who insist on putting us at something like the same level as volleyball.
I almost get the feeling that if a million people watched every Rugby League match on Sky Sports, the nation’s sports editors would still insist that we were a small game.
I’m sure tonight’s clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be another thriller, and the players will do us proud once again.
And it’s for their sake, if for no one else’s, that we need to understand what we can do to change those negative perceptions.
Rugby League is just too damned good to be ignored.

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Martyn Sadler
By Martyn Sadler March 20, 2014 16:20

Great Rugby League Reads!


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