17 December 2018

Did My 2018 Rugby League Dreams Come True?

Back at the start of the year, I sat down and mapped out my five hopes and dreams for Rugby League in 2018. You can refresh yourself on them here: Rugby League Dreams for 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to look back and see if any of my dreams came true...

1) England to be successful!
This came true, right!? Not only did we take the series over New Zealand after winning the mid-season test too, but the Academy took their recent series with Australia 2-0.

Crowds for the New Zealand series started poorly but grew encouragingly, and the TV coverage off the series was positive. The series led to an England player winning Golden Boot, which however you take it was still good news for our game. And, England are up in the world rankings.

It was definitely a good news story.

2) Growth of the SLP family
Well, I clearly didn't fully expect the major changes in the SLP family's make up that followed later in January. However, if anything, Tom's departure was a major source of growth for the SLP family in a hugely unexpected way. It meant the amount of voices we heard changed, as some of you jumped at the chance to co-host episodes of the show.

Listener numbers to the main weekly show have remained pretty much level with where they've been for a while. But new show types have been added into the mix now, with the Shorts and the newly created Debate Club shows. This has helped even more voices get onto our show and we've very much enjoyed talking to each and every one of the guests we've had on in 2018.

Another great thing in 2018 has been the support of our sponsors and donors. A special mention in particular must go to Rob's Toy Shop and Little Warden, for sticking with us through the whole season, offering more than just financial support. Also, SLP Listener of the Year Paul, who has been a huge help in the background this year too.

Finally, the greatest success of the SLP family in 2018 was the support you all gave back. Through donations to the show that we've been able to share out. Through supporting fund-raising for junior community sides Myton Warriors and Newton Storm. Through helping Dom Hodgson's efforts for Martin House Charity.

3) All our big events to sell out
Well, we fell way short of this dream didn't we!

On a personal note, I loved all the Rugby League events I made it to in 2018. My wife will tell you that I made it to a lot...I might argue I didn't get to enough. Either way, I wasn't at any Sold Out events. And that disappoints and frustrates me. The points I made in January remain. Lets do better in 2019!

4) Expansion to continue, and do so with a clear direction
Erm...This didn't come true really. There's been some promise and equally some set backs.

West Wales were a horror show on the field. Hemel have gone the way of Oxford and All Golds. New York has made limited progress.

But Toulouse and Toronto led the way in the Championship, with real improvements in their support being seen as well as progress on the field. Coventry were a regular good news story in League 1. More clubs from other lands are showing an interest in being a part of our competitions. And London Broncos made it back to Super League.

Where my dream really turned to nightmare is the clear direction part. There is no direction. As the recent Challenge Cup debacle has ably demonstrated.

5) Let the moaning all end, or at least take an extended rest!
Yeah, right!

No, wait, if I reflect a little more, the digital output from alternate media sources has just grown in Rugby League in 2018. Yes, this means more competition for us at SLP. And yes, this gives us all more outlets to air our criticisms.

However, it hasn't been all moaning at all. It's not been all cheer leading either. There's a way to go, but things have way more balance now. It's trending in the right direction. We have enough good stuff to talk about that we occasionally swim in the pool of negativity, but we aren't drowning in it.

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Anyway, that's 2018 dealt with. Let's start to turn our attention to 2019...

Our 2019 Fan Predictions voting form is now OPEN! Click here to make your picks and share your predictions: SLP 2019 Fan Predictions

Thanks for reading.

Mark
SLP

15 November 2018

International Recap Show

Get excited. A new episode os SLP Shorts is up for you to listen to!

In this latest SLP (not so) Short, Mark is joined by England RL super-fan and all-round supporter of the international game, Brian Davies, to get the full-Bri take on the 2018 International season. We cover England's games, other results and your views on what we've seen this autumn/winter. To be honest, we think we did well to cap it at 50 minutes, so enjoy!

You can listen to it HERE, or find it HERE if you're an Apple Podcasts person. You can also get it on the League Cast Android app, Podcast Addict app or on YouTube. Also find us through rugbyleaguemedia.com!

Please feel free to make a donation to support SLP: paypal.me/superleaguepod
All donations are hugely appreciated, large or small. Remember, anyone who donates £20 or more will be able to get an SLP T-shirt as a thank you.



Another way to support SLP is buying your international Rugby League gear from Mascord Brownz using the following link: mascordbrownz.com/?affilates=8
With Christmas coming up and so much choice on the site, it's a great way to find the perfect gift for the Rugby League super-fan in your life (or, you know, just grab a treat for yourself!).

10 November 2018

Tommy Makinson and the Golden Boot - by Mark

Well done Tommy Makinson on deservedly being chosen as the best international rugby league performer in 2018.

He made a brilliant try scoring debut in Denver, off the bench, in his less preferred position of centre. Arguably the outstanding moment of that match was his pick up and offload to set up Elliott Whitehead's second try, knowing he would wear a big hit from it. It showed all his attributes that us Super League fans know so well - instinct, speed, tenacity, bravery, strength, skill. He backed that up with a strong showing in Hull. A great kick take in the build up to the opening try and an emergency stint at full back notable features. Then he really blew the lid off things at Anfield. Possibly his best ever defensive display and a match winning super try to round off a great hat-trick.

That brief list of highlights show that his place as the best international performer is well deserved. Whitehead must have run him close. And it can't have hurt Tommy's chances that the timing of the award was after his man-of-the-match game rather than after a different game. Maybe a week earlier and Whitehead would of won it, maybe a week later and (I'm projecting here, writing this before the third test) John Bateman or Jake Connor could have won it.

This takes absolutely nothing away from Tommy Makinson or the panel who voted on the award. Those that voted for him, did so on the criteria they were asked to, and I'd say came up with the right choice for that criteria. He deserves the title of best international rugby league performer in 2018, as of 7 November 2018.

It does, however, take something away from the award he has won.

Before I address the biggest elephant in the room, I'll return briefly to that smaller, albeit still messy and noisy, elephant. The RLIF need to be pulled up on the timing of this award. If we're only giving it out on international performances, why has it been given out with one game left to play in the biggest international series of the year? What if the series was undecided after a Dallin Watene-Zelezniak last minute response to Makinson's hat-trick? Who would then have won?

In non-World Cup years we only have a handful of games at most for players to show themselves at international level. Yet we're giving the award out with 20% of that international season left. This is utterly ridiculous. The RLIF need to fix this nonsense for future years. As often with rugby league administrators, I seriously fear they won't.

Then the biggest issue. The same award, the Golden Boot, has been handed out for a totally different criteria to the past. I say it makes a mockery of the award. (It's actually this opinion that led to this blog post. It was asserted, falsely, that had a Wigan player got the award I would have celebrated it fully and not challenged it at all. You all should know me better than that by now!)

The Wikipedia Rugby League Golden Boot Award page currently says: The Golden Boot is given, usually in December after the conclusion of all the year's matches, to the player adjudged to be the best in the world, as determined by a ballot of international media representatives.

Well that needs changing now. Because that isn't what Tommy Makinson won the award for.

If Makinson had, instead, won the 'Rugby League Internationals Player of the Year' he would have received the same level of deserved credit and praise as he has, without the same level of outcry and bemusement we've seen.

How can anyone think it's sensible to take what had become regarded as the award given to the best player in the world, and give it to the player making the biggest impression over a handful of international games?

We're now left with either forever questioning how Tommy Makinson won the Golden Boot in 2018 when he wasn't the world's best player that year, or how one of our game's greatest ever players Jonathan Thurston won the Golden Boot in 2015, when he only played one international match, which he lost. Make sense of that.

Why oh why do our sport's governing bodies keep giving us reasons to in-fight, argue and so easily criticise, when instead we could be having a celebration? You might say that I could ignore these issues and just celebrate. But don't we want to do things right? Or would you rather let those in charge do whatever they want and we just deal with it?

I know there are bigger issues facing our great sport. But huge PR gaffes like this just go to demonstrate that those people currently running our game aren't up to the challenge of facing down and conquering those bigger issues.

Thanks for reading as always! Please make sure you also listen to our shows during the off-season.

You can listen to them HERE, or HERE if you're an Apple Podcasts person, and you can also get it on the League Cast Android app, Podcast Addict or on YouTube. Also find us through rugbyleaguemedia.com!

Please feel free to make a donation to support SLP: paypal.me/superleaguepod
All donations are hugely appreciated, large or small. Remember, anyone who donates £20 or more will be able to get an SLP T-shirt as a thank you.

Another way to support SLP is buying your international Rugby League gear from Mascord Brownz using the following link: mascordbrownz.com/?affilates=8

16 October 2018

Episode 203 - #RalphsFault

The new episode of Super League Pod is up! You can listen to it HERE, or HERE if you're an Apple Podcasts person, and you can also get it on the League Cast Android app, Podcast Addict or on YouTube. Also find us through rugbyleaguemedia.com!

Mark is joined by Alan and Tim to recap the Mens and Womens Grand Finals. We start with a chat through our Grand Final weekend experiences and some of the SLP family we met along the way.

We take you through your fan reviews and stats from the Super League Grand Final, from 23:30. We're joined by Sean from Wigan Fan TV to get his perspective of the day too. Match Reviews are sponsored by Rob's Toy Shop on eBay.
Find a wide range of toys, gifts, rugby league birthday cards and more at Rob’s Toy Shop on eBay. Visit stores.ebay.co.uk/robstoyshop and on any orders over £5 you can earn 5% cash back, and also 1% of your order value will go into the SLP coffers, by putting 'SLPDiscount' at checkout – and if you want to give your 5% to SLP too you can by messaging Rob’s Toy Shop when you make your order. 

We cover what went on in the Womens Super League and Promotion/Relegation play-off, in Other Results from 98:30. Other results are sponsored by JKM Artwork.
Check out jkmartwork.com, where you can buy prints, canvases and more of James’ stadium paintings. All UK Super League clubs are covered and a couple of clubs outside Super League too, as well as football stadiums, cricket grounds and more. JKM Artwork can help you find the perfect gift for the sports fan in your life.

We cover the news from the last week in Rugby League, from 127:30. SLP news is sponsored by RunDom.Run & Little Warden.
Every year Dom does stupid runs in stupid costumes to raise money for Martin House and this year is like no other… Little Warden is going to match any donation by the SLP listeners to rundom.run just leave #slpfamily in the donation comment.
If you have a website, then visit LittleWarden.com and see what they can do to help you. They can help you with domain expiration checks, redirects and all sorts of other important background web stuff that they’ll make simple for you. Little Warden – monitoring the tedious!

Finally, we finish with some quizzing and recommendations. Get listening to your favourite Rugby League podcast!
Head to loverugbyleague.com for all the latest news, opinion pieces and even more stats on the greatest game.

Please feel free to make a donation to support SLP: paypal.me/superleaguepod
All donations are hugely appreciated, large or small. Remember, anyone who donates £20 or more will now be able to get an SLP T-shirt as a thank you. Listen to the show wrap up for more details.

Another way to support SLP is buying your international Rugby League gear from Mascord Brownz using the following link: mascordbrownz.com/?affilates=8

Remember to vote in the 2018 SLP Listener Awards!
SLPies voting: HERE
Dream Team voting: HERE

9 October 2018

Episode 202 - Squad News & Book Plugs

The new episode of Super League Pod is up! You can listen to it HERE, or HERE if you're an Apple Podcasts person, and you can also get it on the League Cast Android app, Podcast Addict or on YouTube. Also find us through rugbyleaguemedia.com!

This week Mark is joined by regular co-host Tim G. We start by reminding you about the 2018 SLP Listener Awards. If your team's season is done, you can start your votes now!
SLPies voting: HERE
Dream Team voting: HERE
We also tell you about our two Grand Final ticket giveaways.

We cover the news from the last week in Rugby League, from 11:00. SLP news is sponsored by RunDom.Run & Little Warden.
Every year Dom does stupid runs in stupid costumes to raise money for Martin House and this year is like no other… Little Warden is going to match any donation by the SLP listeners to rundom.run just leave #slpfamily in the donation comment.
If you have a website, then visit LittleWarden.com and see what they can do to help you. They can help you with domain expiration checks, redirects and all sorts of other important background web stuff that they’ll make simple for you. Little Warden – monitoring the tedious!

We take you through your fan reviews and stats from the Super League Semi finals and Million Pound Game, from 58:00. Match Reviews are sponsored by Rob's Toy Shop on eBay.
Find a wide range of toys, gifts, rugby league birthday cards and more at Rob’s Toy Shop on eBay. Visit stores.ebay.co.uk/robstoyshop and on any orders over £5 you can earn 5% cash back, and also 1% of your order value will go into the SLP coffers, by putting 'SLPDiscount' at checkout – and if you want to give your 5% to SLP too you can by messaging Rob’s Toy Shop when you make your order. 

We cover what went on in the Championship Shield, League 1 and Womens Super League, in Other Results from 119:00. Other results are sponsored by JKM Artwork.
Check out jkmartwork.com, where you can buy prints, canvases and more of James’ stadium paintings. All UK Super League clubs are covered and a couple of clubs outside Super League too, as well as football stadiums, cricket grounds and more. JKM Artwork can help you find the perfect gift for the sports fan in your life.

We then look forward to Super League Grand Finals, both mens and womens, from 130:30. Previews and predictions are in association with Love Rugby League.
Head to loverugbyleague.com for all the latest news, opinion pieces and even more stats on the greatest game.

Finally, we finish with some quizzing and recommendations. Get listening to your favourite Rugby League podcast!

Please feel free to make a donation to support SLP: paypal.me/superleaguepod
All donations are hugely appreciated, large or small. Remember, anyone who donates £20 or more will now be able to get an SLP t-shirt as a thank you. Listen to the show wrap up for more details.

Another way to support SLP is buying your international Rugby League gear from Mascord Brownz using the following link: mascordbrownz.com/?affilates=8

3 October 2018

2018 SLP Awards!


VOTING IS NOW OPEN!!!

It's that time of year again where YOU get the chance to tell everyone YOUR views on how the year has gone. And like normal with SLP, there's plenty of ways to get involved.

Firstly, make YOUR votes for the 2018 SLP Listener Dream Team. The hosts have put our heads together and come up with a shortlist for each position, all you have to do is make YOUR choices.
Cast YOUR votes here: 2018 SLP Dream Team Voting Form

Then, it's time to give us YOUR votes for the big awards! We've given you some shortlists to go on, but there's also free-format options throughout so you can give YOUR own views. We have the usual Player of the Year awards, you can pick your Listener's Listener of the year, there's some awards for beyond Super League and you can choose to give us your feedback on the show too.
Cast YOUR votes here: 2018 SLPies Voting Form

In now time-honoured SLP tradition, we also want YOUR audio reviews of the season for the side you support. Just record an audio file, it's pretty easy to do on your phone or computer, then email that to us to superleaguepod@gmail.com. Try to keep them quite short and punchy, about 90 seconds to 2 minutes in length. Cover whatever you want, its YOUR review of YOUR team's season. A few ideas though are your favourite games, best performers, rising talent, top tries etc. Obviously, wait until your season is done before you send one in!

Finally, in a first for 2018, we want one fan from each side to join Mark to talk through their side's season and comment on the other views. Get in touch by email or DM on Twitter or Facebook to express your interest.

2 October 2018

Episode 201 - 250,000 Reasons Why

The new episode of Super League Pod is up! You can listen to it HERE, or HERE if you're an Apple Podcasts person, and you can also get it on the League Cast Android app, Podcast Addict or on YouTube. Also find us through rugbyleaguemedia.com!

This week Mark is joined by regular co-host Sarah. We start by talking about what rule changes we would like to see for 2019. Then, listen in for details of our Grand Final day plans and we also let you know about the 2018 SLP Listener Awards. If your team's season is done, you can start your votes now!
SLPies voting: HERE
Dream Team voting: HERE

We cover the news from the last week in Rugby League, with loads of your views. Man of Steel, Ben Barba and Zak Hardaker top the bill, from 36:30. SLP news is sponsored by RunDom.Run & Little Warden.
Every year Dom does stupid runs in stupid costumes to raise money for Martin House and this year is like no other… Little Warden is going to match any donation by the SLP listeners to rundom.run just leave #slpfamily in the donation comment.
If you have a website, then visit LittleWarden.com and see what they can do to help you. They can help you with domain expiration checks, redirects and all sorts of other important background web stuff that they’ll make simple for you. Little Warden – monitoring the tedious!

We take you through your fan reviews and stats from the Super League Super 8s and Qualifiers, from 80:00. Match Reviews are sponsored by Rob's Toy Shop on eBay.
Find a wide range of toys, gifts, rugby league birthday cards and more at Rob’s Toy Shop on eBay. Visit stores.ebay.co.uk/robstoyshop and on any orders over £5 you can earn 5% cash back, and also 1% of your order value will go into the SLP coffers, by putting 'SLPDiscount' at checkout – and if you want to give your 5% to SLP too you can by messaging Rob’s Toy Shop when you make your order. 

We cover what went on in the Championship Shield, League 1, Womens Super League, NRL Grand Final and more, in Other Results from 124:00. Other results are sponsored by JKM Artwork.
Check out jkmartwork.com, where you can buy prints, canvases and more of James’ stadium paintings. All UK Super League clubs are covered and a couple of clubs outside Super League too, as well as football stadiums, cricket grounds and more. JKM Artwork can help you find the perfect gift for the sports fan in your life.

We then look forward to Super League Semi Finals and Million Pound Game, from 145:30. Previews and predictions are in association with Love Rugby League.
Head to loverugbyleague.com for all the latest news, opinion pieces and even more stats on the greatest game.

Finally, we finish with some quizzing and recommendations. Get listening to your favourite Rugby League podcast!

Please feel free to make a donation to support SLP: paypal.me/superleaguepod
All donations are hugely appreciated, large or small. Remember, anyone who donates £20 or more will now be able to get an SLP t-shirt as a thank you. Listen to the show wrap up for more details.

Another way to support SLP is buying your international Rugby League gear from Mascord Brownz using the following link: mascordbrownz.com/?affilates=8
Happy 1st Birthday to our friends at Mascord Brownz!