Here are six things you need to do ahead of the new campaign.
Tackle 1: Visit Salford’s new ground
After talking about it for basically the last 10 years, Salford have finally put their money where their mouth is and secured a move to a brand new stadium. Sure, it’s only got one main stand and three disappointingtly small ones, but it’s a huge step forward from The Willows, and gives them great potential for growth. The early parking and ticketing problems are sure to just be teething ones, and you need to get down there at some point this season to give the franchise a boost, especially with the Media City being in such close proximity to the Reds – they need to capture the imagination.
Tackle 2: Get to Manchester Magic
It’s not Cardiff or Edinburgh, but it is much more accessible for fans in the heartlands. People complained about the mass emptyness of the Millennium Stadium and Murrayfield, but if rugby league wants to be taken seriously, it really does need to be packing out a stadium that is basically on our door step. People complain about the lack of national press coverage and then don’t turn up for these events – it’s a no brainer really, rugby league fans need to show that interest in the game is there.
Tackle 3: Subscribe to Premier Sports
The game outside of Super League is threatening to be ignored completely thanks to SKY ditching its coverage of the Championship and Northern Rail Cup. Instead, games will be shown live, still in their Thursday night slots, by Premier Sports, which is available for £6.99 per month for SKY customers only. This is very limiting for rugby league, but it means that you have got SKY, you need to support the greatest game by subscribing. They also carry something like four NRL games per week too. If you mention your local Championship club, they get a slice of the pie.
Tackle 4: Visit St Helens’ new ground
Having left Knowsley Road, and spent a season on loan at Widnes’ Stobart Stadium, St Helens have a new home in the shape of Langtree Park. Hopefully they’ll get the sides finished and it won’t be as cold as at their recent friendly against Widnes, but it’s another nice, new venue to add to the Super League portfolio. It’s a proper rugby league ground, and we’re sure to see some test matches and cup games held here over the next few years. Saints, like Salford, have taken note of the RFL’s stadium warnings and managed to get something sorted – and the likes of Castleford and Wakefield need to follow suit sooner rather than later.
Tackle 5: Support London Broncos
Another name change, but a familiar brand comes back in to Super League in the shape of London Broncos. They need support. Enough of the anti-southern criticism, London have committed themselves to the game again, and they need support to grow. Of course, much of it is out of our hands, as it’s the London public that needs to get behind the club by coming through the turnstiles, but maybe the on-the-road games this season will help the Broncos capture the new fan base that they, and rugby league, so desperately need.
Tackle 6: Get on Twitter
The final mention goes to Twitter. Virtually all your favourite players are on there, as well as most of the clubs and other rugby league personalities (and us – @loverugbyleague). It’s a great way to share banter with other fans, pick up the latest gossip and spread the word about the greatest game. Don’t forget too about the new hashtags….
Each club has been assigned their own hashtag with examples of the complete game hashtag below.
Bradford Bulls #Bra
Castleford Tigers #Cas
Catalan Dragons #Cat
Huddersfield Giants #Hud
Hull FC #HFC
Hull KR #HKR
Leeds Rhinos #Lee
London Broncos #Lon
Salford City Reds #Sal
St Helens #StH
Wakefield Wildcats #Wak
Warrington Wolves #War
Widnes Vikings #Wid
Wigan Warriors #Wig
Using the above this weekend’s games will look like:
Friday 3rd February
Widnes Vikings v Wakefield Wildcats = #SLWidWak
Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR = #SLLeeHKR
Saturday 4th February
London Broncos v St Helens = #SLLonStH
Salford City Reds v Castlefprd Tigers = #SLSalCas
Sunday 5th February
Bradford Bulls v Catalan Dragons = #SLBraCat
Hull FC v Warrington Wolves = #SLHFCWar
Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants = #SLWigHud
With the Super League Grand Final and Challenge Cup looking like:
Grand Final = #SLGF
Challenge Cup Final = #RLCCF
Enjoy the season!