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.”

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

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.

Fancy owning a Premier League club?

A new graphic from SBO looks into the owners of Premier League football teams, and just how much they’ve paid into their clubs – with the top figure being £2 billion, Roman Abramovich’s investment into Chelsea FC.

If you’ve ever held aspirations of owning a football club in the Premier League, you might have to win the lottery a few times.

Research from SBO shows the investments club owners have made in order to possess their teams, and even the smallest in the top ten is £105 million – making it quite the pricey game to maintain a top football club.

Hey, big spender

Overall, the investment in clubs from the Premier League was roughly £5.15 billion – with £2 billion of that being contributed by Roman Abramovich. The top five investors into the League were as follows:

  • Roman Abramovich – Though he started as a street trader, Abramovich has come a long way, now with the greatest investment in any football club in the League. Chelsea have benefitted from £2 billion of the Russian businessman’s money.
  • The Glazer Family – Big sports fans, the Glazers don’t only own Manchester United with their stake of £800 million: they also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League in America.
  • E. Stanley Kroenke – Kroenke owns several sports teams, primarily in America, including the Los Angeles Rams. His only UK team is Arsenal FC, though there have been a number of protests and complaints from supporters of the team over his management (despite his £450 million investment).
  • John W. Henry – owner of diverse holdings such as the Boston Globe newspaper and the Red Sox, Henry has invested £300 million in his ownership of the Liverpool team.
  • Government of China/Sheihk Mansour – Bizarrely, ownership of Manchester City is split between a state-owned Chinese consortium and the deputy prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mansour. The Chinese CITIC Group have invested about £265 million, while Mansour has put forward £210 million.

To give some context, however, the highest-value player in the world, Neymar, has been valued at £217 million – meaning some of these investments aren’t enough to dominate the game.

The lowest disclosed figure for investment across the entire Premier League was £70,000, from the Swansea City Supporters Trust into, well, Swansea City, in order to take advantage of a share offer which took the Trust shareholding within the club to 21%.

Whichever football team you support, make sure you know just how much went into it – look at the top investors in the Premier League on the full graphic here.

Independent Age launch charity challenge

Independent Age, the older people’s charity, is launching a brand new nationwide fundraising challenge – called 100in10 – which invites participants to cover a total of 100 kilometres in 10 weeks in any way they choose.

All donations will go towards the charity’s work towards helping older people stay independent for as long as possible.

Participants can take part in the challenge either as an individual or a team, and will help raise funds to support older people to live more independently.

Those who take part can walk, run, swim, cycle or be as creative as they like to reach the ‘100’ target in 10 weeks. For those who are less athletically inclined, they could even try baking 100 cookies in 10 weeks instead!

Johnny Ringwood, 81, is an ambassador for the challenge. He said, “I’ve been interested in fitness my whole life, but it’s never too late to start, as long as you pace yourself.

“When I first heard about the 100in10 challenge for Independent Age, I jumped at the idea of doing something to support other people my age. I’d encourage people to take part in 100in10 as a great way to help others.”

Independent Age is an older people’s charity that provides regular friendly contact, a strong campaigning voice and free, impartial advice on the issues that matter to older people: care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said: “We hope that people get behind our brand new 100in10 fundraising challenge and enjoy taking part.

“You can be so creative and do whatever you like to reach the target, so we can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

“Every penny raised from this campaign will go towards our advice and friendship services and will help us speak up for those who are lonely, vulnerable or in need of help, so participants really will be making a big difference to the lives of older people.”

Participants can sign up now and the challenge runs from Saturday, 13th May, until the autumn.

To sign up for the 100in10 challenge, please click here.