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!
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.
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.