Communication the key for Salford

High-flying Salford Red Devils are ‘talking up’ success after hauling themselves back from the brink of disaster to enjoy one of their best ever Super League seasons.

Twelve months ago the club needed a golden point extra time drop goal to escape relegation.

But ever since they have been riding high towards the top of the table – defeating North West rivals such as Wigan and Warrington along the way in a memorable 2017 campaign.

It’s been a remarkable transformation that Player Welfare Manager Garreth Carvell puts down to the players developing a mental toughness to turn adversity into triumph.

The dramatic turnaround has also coincided with the introduction of new two-way radio equipment from Storno that provides vital communication between coach Ian Watson and his dugout team during the heat of battle.

“In a perverse way playing the Million Pound Game (a winner-takes-all contest against Hull KR) helped us,” said Carvell.

“The players got a bit of grit and mental toughness. Because they have been through it they know for a fact they don’t want to go through it again.

“The mental edge is there and that’s the biggest difference. This team is capable of reacting in a positive way to any adversity. It’s a tight knit group. They are all friends off the field as well as on it and look out for each other.

“The Million Pound Game was a watershed moment. Two minutes to go we were ten points adrift and dead and buried. As a club and players we were all in the frame of mind that we are going down so we knew what it felt like.

“We never want to experience that again. We came back alive through a minor miracle and know anything is possible now.”

The former Great Britain prop forward is also the club’s Commercial Manager and Team Manager in a wide ranging role that provides a valuable link between the players, coaching staff and wider club hierarchy.

He added: “It’s the one and two percent throughout all aspects of the club that gives us a cumulative advantage.

“Two way radios are a vital part of our matchday performance. The Stornos are very good and give Ian instant communication with the bench to make game changing decisions when he is sitting higher up in the stands. They deliver crystal clear communication even in noisy crowd environments.”

The Storno technology and associated ear pieces offer top-of-the-league performance with clear audio matched by robust lightweight construction, long battery life and ease of use.

The brand has been brought back from the past by Salford-based distribution powerhouse Nimans and is available from supply specialists such as Pennine and Rocom.

“I’ve been here two-and-a-half years now,” said Carvell. “Everything is working a lot better because when I first joined it was a bit disjointed.

“But we are a much more tightly knit team now – all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and the club is moving forward in a much more cohesive way.

“From a welfare point of view a lot has come in for the doctors to do a lot more now and we have been able to supply them with separate radios to the coaching staff on a different frequency.

“That’s how it’s got to be according to the rules. The physio and the doctor wear earpieces so they can go out on the field especially if there is a head injury. It’s vital they work quickly and effectively together.

“Clear communication is crucial on and off the field. Ian and his assistant have Storno radios at the top of the stand and communicate to the touchline all throughout the games to make substitutions and change tactics and so on.

“They are an essential part of every match. Poor communication would cost us points. Storno are trusted and part of our match day routine. We don’t give them a second thought. They are our extra man.”

JDG to run State of Mind media campaign for fifth year in a row

JDG Sport has been commissioned to run the media campaign for the successful State of Mind themed Super League round for the fifth successive year.

Our company will be responsible for ensuring the mental health charity’s exposure is maximised through a variety of online, written and broadcast media channels.

This year’s round takes place from June 8th to June 11th – Round 18 of Super League 2017.

The theme chosen by State of Mind this year is that of loss, and the campaign will run under the slogan ‘Let It Out’.

The games include Wigan’s first trip to Leigh Sports Village for a Super League encounter against Leigh Centurions, St Helens against Widnes and Leeds’ trip to Wakefield.

Other games see Huddersfield travel to Catalan, Castleford host Warrington and Salford face Hull.

Features with a range of rugby league personalities, including current and former players, are produced and distributed to a wide range of press contacts.

JDG managing director James Gordon said: “It is a privilege once again to be working with State of Mind on the media campaign.

“Rugby league is a leader in sport for its support of mental health, and as such it is a real pleasure to be able to speak to those involved and also to players who have embraced the State of Mind and mental fitness movement.

“There’s nothing more pleasing for a business than to work with the same people year in year out, because it is a testament to the work you have previously done, so for that I’d like to thank the team at State of Mind for choosing us once again.”

You can read our case study from previous State of Mind campaigns here.

State of Mind themed weekend confirmed

Following on from another successful Magic Weekend, Super League’s next themed weekend will be the State of Mind round in early June.

For a sixth successive year, Super League will devote an entire round of fixtures to JDG Sport’s client State of Mind, as it continues to lead the way in sport for its support of mental fitness.

This year’s round takes place from June 8th to June 11th, Round 18 of Super League 2017.

The theme chosen by State of Mind this year is that of loss, and the campaign will run under the slogan ‘Let It Out’.

The games include Wigan’s first trip to Leigh Sports Village for a Super League encounter against Leigh Centurions, St Helens against Widnes and Leeds’ trip to Wakefield.

Other games see Huddersfield travel to Catalan, Castleford host Warrington and Salford face Hull.

State of Mind co-founder and trustee, Malcolm Rae, said: “In line with State of Mind’s aims and commitment to preventing suicide, raising awareness, tackling stigma and promoting mental fitness, wellbeing and resilience, and signposting for timely support we have chosen ‘loss’ as the theme for this year’s campaign.

“Later this year, State of Mind Sport will be publishing practical guidance on a range of mental fitness and wellbeing topics including bereavement, anxiety and depression to inform and support the rugby league community and families.

“A sense of loss can have a significant impact on an individual. The loss may be a relationship, a job, income or in some circumstances a home. A bereavement or unexpected traumatic loss can have a major effect on individuals and families.

“The message is Let It Out, don’t bottle it in. And for others, let your mates know that you are there for them.

“We are privileged once again to be able to pass on our support and raise awareness of these issues through the vehicle of a themed Super League round.”

As per previous seasons, players and clubs will help to raise awareness of State of Mind in the build-up and during the round.

State of Mind trustees, volunteers and national health staff will be on hand at each game to provide advice and support to anyone that needs it.

More information on the impact that State of Mind has had on rugby league and its communities over the six years since its inception will be shared in the build-up to the themed round.

Currently, Leigh against Wigan is scheduled for Thursday night TV coverage, while Friday’s televised game that week is yet to be confirmed by Sky Sports.

  • Leigh Centurions v Wigan Warriors, Leigh Sports Village (Thurs, 8.00pm)
  • St Helens v Widnes Vikings, Totally Wicked Stadium (Fri, 8.00pm)
  • Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants, Stade Gilbert Brutus (Sat, 6.00pm)
  • Castleford Tigers v Warrington Wolves, Mend-A-Hose Jungle (Sun, 3.30pm)
  • Salford Red Devils v Hull, AJ Bell Stadium (Sun, 3.00pm)**
  • Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos, Belle Vue (Sun, 3.00pm)

*One game due to be re-scheduled for Friday night TV coverage
**Expected to change

Judge Rinder sparks rugby league meltdown

The recent appearance by Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont and his Salford Red Devils counterpart Marwan Koukash on the popular ITV programme Judge Rinder sparked plenty of debate in rugby league circles.

Beaumont and Koukash took centre-stage in the court room in a battle concerning Centurions’ signing of Gareth Hock from Salford and his subsequent appearance against his former club in the Challenge Cup in 2015.

Our Love Rugby League team watched the show followed by the subsequent fall-out across social media, and it’s safe to say they weren’t impressed by much of the reaction.

With the duo also currently engaged in a charity weight loss challenge, some people took their appearance on the show in the spirit in which it was meant – a bit of fun with a view to resolving a genuine issue in an informal way, while bringing some attention to the game of rugby league to a massive mainstream daytime audience.

However, many others took a different view, with comments such as “embarrassing for rugby league” amongst the milder outpouring of negativity hurled in the pair’s direction.

For a sport that needs all the publicity it can get as it battles for airtime alongside the likes of football, cricket and rugby union, some of the vitriol on display was mind-boggling yet unsurprising in equal measure.

Across the spectrum of sports, social media has sparked a culture of opinion and interaction never previously available to fans.

It has also opened the door for rising levels of moaning and abuse, with rugby league perhaps one of the worst afflicted if the LRL team’s observations are anything to go by.

There’s plenty of brilliant things in the game – whether it’s the spectacle itself or some of the great work done off the pitch by clubs in the community – yet much of this seems to get drowned in a sea of negativity.

Endless criticism of the RFL, berating of match officials and fans dubbing rival clubs “scum” do little to present rugby league in a positive light.

If the fans can’t bring themselves to be positive about the sport – and like others it isn’t perfect – then what hope does it have of marketing its good points to a wider audience?

While Beaumont and Koukash’s appearance on the Judge Rinder show was largely being derided by rugby league fans, another “fringe/minority” sport was getting some priceless extra exposure and the reaction to it was chalk and cheese.

Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter’s son, Liam, recently represented Great Britain at a World Championship tournament in Belfast.

Stewart jnr scored his first international goal against Estonia during the competition, and both parents did their bit to shout about the news.

While Rod’s reaction had echoes of his “enthusiastic” involvement in the draw for the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, the fact that major news outlets picked up on this was embraced by ice hockey fans who cry out for their sport to reach a wider audience.

Clearly Rod Stewart and Judge Rinder are at different levels on the “celebrity” spectrum, but fans of rugby league would do well to note the impact these types of interactions can have when it comes to spreading the word.

If the sport’s own fans can’t extinguish what appears to be a self-created culture of moaning, what motive is there for the media or sponsors to view it in anything other than a negative light?

Cricket stars launch new diversity campaign

The biggest names in UK cricket came together to launch a brand new initiative ‘Cricket Has No Boundaries’.

The campaign is designed to showcase and celebrate the diversity of modern cricket in the UK, support the ECB’s aim for a game for everyone and mirror NatWest’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The powerful imagery featured in the ‘Cricket Has No Boundaries’ campaign uses authentic real-life examples of the breadth and range of participants in cricket across England and Wales.

At the heart of the campaign is a partnership with Chance to Shine, the charity that uses cricket to increase aspiration, promote social cohesion and create opportunities in diverse communities affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

The campaign will be the first undertaken by NatWest, as it assumes its new role as Principal Partner of England Cricket. NatWest is the longest-standing sponsor of cricket anywhere in the world with a track record of nearly 40 years’ support for England’s national sport.

The Bank believes cricket is the most diverse and inclusive sport in England and Wales, offering access and opportunities to people of any age, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation, social or ethnic background.

People will be encouraged to pledge their support through a range of initiatives that will raise funds for Chance to Shine and will mobilise the Bank’s 60,000 staff and 16m customers.