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

Hull KR top social media league table of British sports teams

Despite being relegated from the Super League at the end of last season, Hull KR have been ranked top of the fourth annual 146-team Sport Social Media Index which grades British professional football, rugby and cricket teams according to performance by their official club channels.

Hull KR climbed from 29th last year to take the top spot, scoring an impressive 75.5 out of a possible 100, narrowly nudging Sheffield Wednesday (75.25) into second. Data for the Sport Social Media Index was analysed up to 1st September, 2016.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club is the first cricket team to secure a position in the top ten of the overall league table, ranking 6th this year, up from 128th the previous year.

Scottish Premiership side Ross County continued its impressive rise, climbing to 18th this year, up from 75th last year and having being bottom in both 2013 and 2014.

The annual Index is compiled by measuring the social media performance of each team based, not just on an algorithm, but research from a team who looked at eight social media networks.

Four months in the making, the data was then analysed by a panel of three judges who presided over the final results, creating a league table which benchmarks social media success among professional British sports teams.

The Index, produced by social media agency Umpf – and partnered once again by William Hill – includes an overall table of all 146 teams ranked top to bottom, plus nine additional tables showing rankings based on each sporting league.

Rachel Clayton from Umpf, one of the Sport Social Media Index judges, said: “Hull KR achieved an excellent quantitative data score, largely due to high levels of on-page engagements in relation to the size of their social community.

“They demonstrated a tailored approach to both social media asset design and channel-specific content and produced excellent behind-the-scenes footage, such as exclusive Snapchat content. They are well-deserved winners of this year’s overall table.”

Michael Sheehan, Head of Social Media at William Hill, added: “Hull KR are a shining example of great community management. Through tailoring their content across all platforms, they have gained huge engagement scores when you consider the size of their communities.

“They clearly resonate with the local community and deliver more than just club news for their fans. They also engage with the local community both online and offline. A well-deserved winner of this year’s Index and great example for other clubs to follow.”

JDG Sport announces Betfred partnership

JDG Sport has secured the new Super League title sponsor, Betfred, as a client ahead of the upcoming rugby league season.

Betfred will take up a significant partnership package on Love Rugby League, JDG’s leading in-house publication, which has been established for 11 years.

The deal will focus on the immediate activation of Betfred’s Super League sponsorship, aiming to deliver instant results for brand awareness and player conversions by utilising Love Rugby League’s large audience reach within the rugby league community.

The site registers more than 20 million page views per season, while total social media followers are close to 150,000.

Founder of Love Rugby League, and Managing Director of JDG Sport, James Gordon said: “As soon as the Betfred sponsorship deal was announced, it was clear that this was someone we wanted to work with.

“From our first meeting we recognised there were some great opportunities and, with both companies being based in Warrington, it lends itself well to a positive and developing working relationship.

“We cannot wait for the new rugby league season with such a great partner on board, whose input will allow our great team of journalists led by John Davidson in continuing to deliver exclusive news and feature content.”

Gemma Strath, Group Head of Marketing at Betfred, added: “Love Rugby League have been engaging with rugby league fans for many years and as such, it made perfect sense for us to work together in this our inaugural year as Super League sponsors.

“Doing so allows us to get closer to fans of the sport and build strong relationships moving forward.”

JDG Sport, primarily through its Love Rugby League publication, has worked with a host of rugby league clubs, brands and sponsors, including Kingstone Press, Foxy Bingo, State of Mind, Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings.