Across social media we asked our followers ‘if you could add one thing to your Christmas List to improve Rugby League, what would it be? Some great minds thought alike, some are a bit radical, but these are the responses we received – and we’d like to thank everyone for getting involved (we’ve given our thoughts on some of the ideas below)
@robkenyon1: Allow striking at the play the ball.
@markmazyrun: bring back the quick tap
@robertcopeland1: Better and more consistent refs
@cre8tive_typ3: Bring back contested scrums
@hughesthedave61: No scrums, just pointless.
@brouse37: Make the players stand up and play the ball with their foot.
@liamsheridan54: Be able to challenge a decision like in the NFL if you’re wrong you lose a substitution simple and move away from sky sports there’s plenty of other options BBC, ITV, BT, Prime even invest more into the sport and have its own channel
@jamiepinder: Simple one but it annoys me every time. Teams to automatically attack their own fans’ end in the 2nd half. Scrap the coin toss. It’s a spectator sport.
@millswarrior: Making contact with the corner flag when scoring is classed as in touch, like it used to be.
@markbev84: No interchange, 3 subs max
@joecoybutterfly: Proper scrums
Phil Lowthian: Speed up the game by making sure all stoppages, scrums, drop outs, VR decisions are completed much faster. Let us get back to an 80 minute game with a 10 minute half time instead of the close on 2 hours it takes now.
James Walker: Stop changing the rules every year and have the same rules around the world. It’s no wonder why we can’t attract new fans. Hard enough to understand for new people without changing the rules and format every year
Jon Powell: Video ref at every match
Peter Darbyshire: Stability, agree a set of rules and stuck to it.
Jim Scotson: I would get rid of 40-20, that’s my dream. But then I also can’t wait for the day that the RFL can organise either a better deal with free-to-view TV channels or start up their own streaming deal. There are cameras at every SL game anyway (because you can see highlights of them all). I don’t see why they can’t be streamed as full games like the L1 games on Our league?
Mike Kennedy: When the ball is deliberately hoofed downfield, and goes dead, start play, from where the ball was kicked. This would stop negative tactical kicking. Also, cut subs to 4 or 6, giving reward for fitness. Wearing down your opposition is a part of the game…or should be!! Merry Christmas, everyone!!
Paul Holden: Applying pressure to an opponent’s neck when clambering from the floor. Hate it when I see it all the time
Jay Hutton: I’m gonna get grief for this. But the scrums are a joke and a waste of time, line outs?
Redvee: Agreed that stability is required across all leagues, with the NRL talking about bringing in a 20/40 rule which sounds ridiculous. It seems some fans want to go back to the future – if we had contested scrums again we wouldn’t want to end up going down the Rugby Union route with set and re-set scrums taking up more and more of the game, I know it didn’t happen in the past but with the scrutiny the refs are under these days the scrums would have to be perfect. I would like to see the scrums be set with 2 props, a hooker, 2 second rowers and a loose forward though with a scrum half feeding! I’ve been an advocate of one rule which was trialled in pre-season a few years back where if you kick the ball dead in goal from in your own half, you restart play from the where the kick was made – there’s no skill in hoofing it.
@steveca07840280: Get rid of Sky. But then there’d be no clubs left doh!
@simonbatty1_sam: Being posted overseas more tv coverage for me
@mikebondse7en: Try and get some games on normal tv like good Friday for example to get to a wider audience!
@kwhitehead2019: @AndrewVossy commentating on Super League
@a_loose_end: Mute TV commentary option, but keep ground background noise (appreciate that means silence at some grounds)
@highamnoone: The BBC to broadcast their Rugby League programme nationally at a reasonable time and change the cartoon type intro.
@gaskell_mike: Go back to terrestrial TV with a new commentary team.
@bjh74blueyonder: Replace sky broadcasters
@thestuchy13: Replace only Phil Clarke and Cummins
Albert Mousdell: Get more fans watching. Put Eddie Hearn in charge. His Dad and him took two pub sports and turned them into arena events
Damo Anders: I would like to see, like many others a broader spectrum of TV viewing rather than the sky monoply. There are games being played every weekend throughout the season with sky only showing a select few (at their choosing), would it not grow the game by either adding more crews to sky or give some of the TV rights to other channels allowing for a broader spectrum of people to become awed by our beautiful game.
Bill Parr: Play the games at a time convenient to the fans rather than SKY. i.e Sunday afternoon.
When you have worked all week it’s expecting a lot to ask fans to traipse over to the other side of Yorkshire on a Friday night to watch your team play away. Likewise Yorkshire teams coming the other way. The game complains about dwindling attendance’s then does nothing about making it easier for fans to attend matches
Gary Burrows: With the Our League App and broadcasts on Twitch already in place, my Xmas prezzie would be investment in multi channel broadcast on them on match days. So infrastructure such as cameras etc, expenses for commentators, crew etc allowing broadcast of lower leagues, amateur and particularly the Women’s game, offering an opportunity for growth. If I’m going all in with this, this investment could also allow these channels to show more RL magazine programmes, generic AND club based to increase depth.The ultimate aim being to run the base channel almost full time when matches aren’t live ( I suppose multi repeats would be needed in the real world) so people could dip in as and when. Could it be just whats needed for real growth in the fan base (would need to be marketed too)?
Ian Jones: matches only played Friday, Saturday or Sunday. coverage split between Freeview and other channels, or possibly a dedicated TV channel.
Joshua Dean: One game a week on BBC to help attract new audiences, people will be more likely to just flick through the channels and just leave it on
Jackie Taylor: mine would be broadcasting, let sky pick their games then the other games should be shown on other channels like the bbc or someone else that would promote the game
Mark Cheshire: Complete overhaul of the sky commentary team, if you can’t be impartial then quite frankly it’s not the job for you,
Vern Adamson: Stop negative comments during tv games. We constantly bicker and warn viewers that player should except a decision and move on then the commentary then go on about it for duration on game. Just talk positive or dont speak. These negative comments just multiply with social media. I mean if there is an error move on and stop chunnering on about it in the commentary.
Wayne Haselden: Sack Phil Clarke
Graham Holland: Take Phil Clarke off Sky
Carl Edwards: Decent presenters on sky would be nice
Richard West: More about our game on the BBC and less bias towards RU.
Redvee: There definitely needs to be a change in the commentary box. Ideally a commentator describing the action (Mark Wilson springs to mind) with ONE other in the commentary box, not 3 or 4. Every time I watch Sky it turns into a fight for air time and it’s unnecessary. The football coverage has been improved with more recently retired players – it seems that RL is trying to tap into this, and it shouldn’t be scared of splitting up Barrie and Terry and pairing them with the likes of a Leon Pryce. Also, lets steer away from those with proper club affiliations – no conflict of interest in presenting would be great. I’m also going to admit something – I’m really jealous of Rugby Union having games played on a Saturday on Channel 4. Whether it’s Heineken Cup or their Premiership it’s preceded with a highlights/magazine show then the main event, with their big names joining in.
Kick Off Times
@ashley43356722: Not so much to improve it but just from a personal point of view but bring back the Saturday 6pm kickoffs I used to love them.
@marillionmark: More Sunday afternoon fixtures!
@eytonian: More Saturday games.
@KathFarrell4: Thursday night games. Abysmal getting home and dashing out to match no chance of getting into Yorkshire on Thursday or Friday. Poor
Glynis West: Move ‘summer’ rugby to SUMMER, February isn’t summer in my book!
Nick Catterall: Saints to play all home games on Sunday afternoon, 3pm kick off.
John Case: Sunday afternoon games – 3pm
Redvee: Fixtures, again, need to be uniform. Saturday or Sunday would be ideal, but under the current TV deal and Thursday/Friday night games it makes sense for Saints to play on a Friday for player welfare issues. The money brought in from Friday night corporate attendees can also not be underestimated. Travelling across to Yorkshire (Hull on a Friday night anyone?) is tough for anyone not lucky enough to be able to finish early or take time off – it’d be great to strike some kind of balance.
Operational & Schedule changes
@ponte_pele: 2 fully professional divisions of 10. 18 game seasons plus playoffs. A nines comp, challenge cup and northern rail cup style comp with a group format to make up the home games.
@ntommo20096: Not playing clubs 5 times in a season, sort the fixtures out.
Sean Bailey: Sack off loop fixtures to promote the international game & to prioritise player welfare. Waters down the experience when you are going Warrington away for the third time in August!
@zippyarchie: Scrap magic weekend and replace with a 9’s competition
@bertfabulous: Bigger salary cap in the uk
@c_mac93: just a thought but I think the introduction of the bonus point that Union use would stop teams running away with games and make them more competitive. Wouldn’t be opposed to seeing that being introduced in the coming years.
Redvee: I love Magic Weekend – but that said it needs to be fit for purpose. The addition of an odd fixture skews the league and we need to ensure it is being used to grow the game. I don’t necessarily agree that the derbies need to come back to make it enticing – I’d rather play them at home or at the DW. The issue I have with a 9’s competition is when is it going to be played and what is the prize going to be? On paper it looks an exciting proposition – but if it’s put where Magic Weekend currently is, could you have seen Saints risking Coote, Makinson, Lomax etc. mid-season when the main focus is a title challenge? If it starts the season, again do you risk players ahead of wanting to make a strong start? Unless the prize (money) is unbelievable I wonder if the clubs challenging for the top or struggling at the bottom would bother risking their stars – and while it’s always good to see young blood come through, are they worth travelling to Newcastle or Cardiff or Edinburgh for?
Loop fixtures need to go too – playing teams 3, 4 or 5 times a season kills the buzz of the big games. Personally, I’d look to go to a 14 team league. People will argue that will lead to a dilution of quality but I think that would be a short term issue and would lead to more opportunity for full time players. I’ve seen the idea of a group format in the cup to boost home games before and was intrigued by it – would be interesting to know the clubs views on it.
@dkearns1968: Regular fixed international fixtures, time and dates fixed a year in advance and at stadiums around the country with good marketing a year out. I know, I’m dreaming!!
@cbd10sts: I’d have a strong international game. If there were a couple more nations who could compete with the top 4 nations we would have a right game on our hands
Redvee: Completely agree that the international game needs a boost. I’m not sure that an Exiles team or a combined Celtic nations team are for the future – I’d prefer to see Scotland, Wales and Ireland build on their own with France getting stronger too.
@rossstuart4ross: Getting rid play offs and grand final it make finishing top of table worth something
@castigers: Winner of league crowned champions with some kind of international comp replacing the play offs.
Chris Speakman: Challenge Cup Final back to the merry month of May please. Raise its profile again by making it a real first half of season stand out trophy to win. Then build up to the playoffs and GF.
Stuart Ross: Getting rid of play offs and grand final make finishing top of table meaning something
Dave Glover: Scrap the play offs
Redvee: I’d love top to be the Champions, but unfortunately I can’t see it happening. The Challenge Cup being moved this season is a start, but I’d move it back to May as it used to be.
Promotion of the Game
Glenys Sandford: Promotion – the game and the players need to be used to show what a great product we have-if darts for example can do it then why can’t we? Our players are fit and skilful use them!!!
Dave Helsby: Better funding. Show us the money and let the sport thrive outside of Super League.
Sean Winstanley: We need more money from advertising especially when the games on tele, have a sponsorship for replays, man of the match, player cams with audio could be sponsored, the NRL does it, get some money pumped into the game
Leslie Rigby: Stop the race to the bottom
Mike Kennedy: Give vouchers to passengers on Arriva buses, who say they have never been to Saints. they redeem their tickets, if they turn up at the game, so for the cost of a voucher, you have a new fan??
Redvee: I think we all can agree the game needs more promotion – from the governing body down to the clubs. I think that Saints are doing alright as a club – I regularly see adverts when commuting into Liverpool, but there’s always more to be done. Robert Elstone – it’s over to you.
Great Minds and Dreaming Of a Better World
@saintofhull: A bit of biff!
Jeff Hall: Bring back the Biff
@mikenearleigh: Dream; Improvement of competition in its intensity with a new team winning the competition for first time. A Leicester City if you will Reality; One team out of the chasing pack wins a few surprise games before hitting a wall and finishes sixth
@a180darts: When i go to some darts events, People walk around filling your Beer up saves on plastic RV: The deposit system at London Broncos worked well last season too – I’ve somehow ended up with 2 Bronco’s pint pots!
And the final word goes to @afosterteach who sent us a photo of Ralph Rimmer. As a Bradford fan we completely get why you want to change the head of the RFL – hopefully you get to the bottom of goings on at your club!