I know what I’m here for!

Dr Koukash at a press conference

Dr Koukash at a press conference

Recent still from Game of Thrones

Recent still from Game of Thrones

Well, I’ve finally been told what I’m going to be doing at the World Cup. I am to be a social media journalist & venue media assistant for the duration of the tournament.

And that’s all I know at the moment. I went to chat the other week to Emma Neve about the recruitment process ahead of a piece for Forty-20 magazine, the first of a series chronicling my experience from start to finish of the event as a volunteer.

She told me that interviews had taken place with people from all over the world, even Aussies who are over here for the cup and want to help out in between games have applied and interviews even took place via Skype! There were about 1200 applications for 8oo positions, so it was imperative that they got the right people for the job.

It was initially expected that most would want to do perhaps 3 or 4 matches, but its been more like 7 games that people have said they are willing to be at.

In other news, Al Boyle of the Sephton Trophy has been in touch and is looking to me to help out with a bit of Forces RL feature writing, which I’m more than happy to do. I need to sit down with Al once he’s home & settled from his latest trip to Afghanistan & sort out the details. If you want to know more about the Lawson Cup, which is the Armed Forces Rugby League trophy, then follow this link: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/armyrugbyleague/ where you can learn all about it.

So, Rugby League on telly.

We’ve come a long way since the BBC2 Television Floodlit Trophy in the 60’s. Now we have HD, 3D and even the ability to watch the game on your mobile phone from almost anywhere in the world!

First of all, let me say what Sky has done for the game in the summer era is amazing. Live games, play offs, Super League Supermen all fantastic. As someone who wasn’t too sure about Mondays, I can honestly say I’m a convert. Perhaps next season more for longer please Mr Murdoch? 3D is superb; the presenting style for Mondays was a real breath of fresh air as well. All the snazzy handovers, presenters on the pitch really adds to the entertainment for those not able to get to the game. As a former publican, I wish we’d had Super League Mondays back then. Rugby League was bigger for us in a little village outside Halifax than Football and we always had a great crowd of lads in for every game, probably just for the free pie & peas at ½ time, but either way, they were there also there to watch the match.

However…not everything Sky touches has turned to gold.

Boots N All is (let’s be honest) as dull as ditch water some weeks. I don’t know who produces it, but if Brian Noble thinks the on field game is being sanitised, he should watch B&A more often! Having watched the coverage of the game from other parts of the world, why can’t we have a fun filled hour that isn’t too stale, promotes the game in a fun way and allows more interaction with the fans? Perhaps a few competitions, ticket giveaways, phone in’s and stuff like that. I’m not asking for a 3 hour soccer AM style show, but an hour of fun, chat, competitions and something lighter than B&A has become.

What we need is a TV version of Forty-20 magazine. Super League back chat comes close, but its only 30 minutes and is well presented by Rodd Studd & Emu, sorry, Stevo along with a bewildering array of top quality journalists who all know the game inside out and are very opinionated on the subject.

Add 30 minutes to it and a few competitions & we might get more non RL fans tuning in to see what the fuss is about and then watching the games. We already know viewing figures are up for matches, but what about the rest of the shows?

Super League Supermen interviews are often moving, well presented and full of superb tales from the game, from the people who played it and again, those doing the interviews often make interviewees talk in a way they might not to someone outside of the game.

A good, honest down to earth programme that isn’t too stuffy, not afraid to tweak the noses of those in charge of the game and also with a few laughs and jokes as well. Barrie & Terry are underused, and they would make great hosts for the lighter side of the game. Remember the Varsity commentary we used to get from them? It was priceless.

We’ve always had a great rapport between players and fans. Why not use that openness to get right inside the game? A fan rep from each club in the studio, or, like the old fan zone for the football, commentating via the red button & then appearing with the pros to chat about the match.

Rugby League has never stood still. Perhaps we need something new from Sky to freshen up the way it’s seen by the casual fan & those who really love the sport for what it is.

The greatest game.


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