Leeds Rhinos: Frustrating night for TV ‘novice’ and the Rhinos – Ablett

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I WATCHED our game at Wigan last week on Sky and it was a frustrating night.

But there was a funny moment afterwards when Wigan’s Dom Manfredi was interviewed by Angela Powers.

I don’t know if you have seen it, but he swore – on live TV – and then swore again when he realised what he had done.

That got quite a bit of media coverage and he went on Twitter later to apologise and promise to make a donation to the Rugby League Cares charity, which was good of him.

Things like that can get blown out of proportion and the interview was quite late at night. You’ll hear a lot worse on TV at that time most evenings, but on the other hand I think as players we do have a duty to portray our sport in a good light.

I don’t know Dom Manfredi, but he’s pretty young and I’ve heard it was his first live interview, so I can understand what happened.

Speaking to a TV interviewer can be pretty daunting, especially straight after a tough game.

I have done media training a couple of times and it’s something I think all players should take part in.

The RFL are pretty good in that respect. It was a few years ago when I did it, but we went into a mock up of a TV studio and did an interview there.

There was also another interview when you basically get a camera shoved in your face, which is what happens if you get pulled over by Sky after a match.

It’s done to simulate different scenarios and then you watch yourself back, review how you did and they give you some tips on the sort of things the media are looking for and what and what not to say.

From my experience it was really worthwhile. There seems to be more radio and television people covering the sport nowadays and you have to be careful, especially if what you say is going out live.

With the press you can ask them not to print something, especially if it’s somebody you know, but you can’t do that with TV or radio.

Like anything else, being interviewed gets easier – and you get better at it – the more you do it.

There’s a lot of talented young kids running around in Super League and if they play well or do something special the media are going to want to talk to them.

It’s important clubs and the RFL do what they can to make sure players, especially inexperienced ones, are equipped to give a good account of themselves when the face the microphones.

We are not a national sport and some people do have a patronising attitude to rugby league, so we have portray ourselves as well as we can.

That’s one reason why I like the new thing Sky are doing at the end of games, when they get a player to talk through tactics with Jon Wells.

Some of the Sky commentators are a bit out of touch with the modern game, so it’s great to hear from those in the thick of it.

As a player I find it interesting listening to views from other teams and I think it’s a really good way for fans to learn more about the game.

Like I said last week, there’s a lot more to rugby league than just carrying the ball strongly and making tackles.

As a player you are having to make decisions all the time and I think it’s good that the message is getting across that our sport is as much about brains as brawn.

Getting players on screen, talking intelligently about the game while they are still in their kit is a really good way of doing that.

Sometimes I think the TV coverage we get is a bit intrusive.

I don’t know why we have to have cameras in the changing rooms, for example, or what they are hoping to achieve, but overall the broadcasters do a good job and if they open more people’s eyes to what a fantastic sport we have that can only be a good thing.

Liam Sutcliffe.

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