By Matthew Brown, Date: 19/12/12
In our game there tends to be a lot of high profile stars who support our game. Some include big celebrities such as Hugh Jackman (Manly Sea Eagles) and Russel Crowe (South Sydney Rabbitohs). Lately however there have been a few football (soccer) players have come out and publically said that they support Rugby League and various teams for different reasons. Some of these include;
â€¢ Ryan Giggs (Welsh & Man United player- Supports Wigan Warriors and played with current English International Adrian Morleyâ€™s brother in Rugby League).
â€¢ Rio Ferdinand (English & Man United Player- supports Wigan Warriors).
â€¢ Wayne Rooney (English & Man United Player- Supports Leeds Rhinos).
â€¢ Alessandro Del Pierro (Italian & Juventus Legend- Currently plays with Sydney FC and recently met with Italian RL star Anthony Minichello, also publicly wished support for the Italian RL team!
These sorts of stories make my heart warm. It feels satisfying to know that although we may be divided by different shaped ballsâ€¦we share the same passion for the â€œGreatest Game of All!â€.
This RL supporter thought itâ€™d be too good an opportunity to miss to not get these players on board and help spread our great game. Players like Giggs and Rooney do little things like Tweet messages and say publicly for free their support for Rugby League. Heck all three United players mentioned above were seen taking a photo with the 2013 Rugby League World Cup Trophy!
So here are a few ideas I came up with that could realistically help boost the profile of our game by using the mere presence of these football legends;
Idea 1: NRL Australian Guest Appearances
In July 2013, Manchester United is taking on an A League All Stars team at ANZ Stadium. This is massive news already as Man United is a massive global club brand which billions of people can identify with straight away. The players mentioned above will no doubt make an appearance at the match! Here are a few â€œguest appearancesâ€ these players could possibly do whilst here in Australia!
â€¢ NRL Match featuring either Bulldogs or Rabbitohs at ANZ- Imagine it, ANZ stadium on a Friday night with these guys as guests of honour! The Man United players along with Del Pierro at half time they could be presented with signed jerseys and be given special seats at the match! This would no doubt help boost the profile of the NRL!
â€¢ State of Origin- Origin is also played around June/July (same time at the Manchester United tour). Wouldnâ€™t it be great if we got two or three of these guys on a helicopter delivering the State of Origin Shield before the match! That could also get the attention of neutral supporters who would take notice of the greatest rivalry in Australian Sport! Plus the State of Origin is played three days before so maybe a guest appearance by the lads wouldnâ€™t be out of the question.
These ideas are realistic as Iâ€™m sure the players wouldnâ€™t mind making a few more $$$ with guest appearances. The Barclays Premier League (EPL) doesnâ€™t start back up until August so there could be many realistic options these blokes could be a part of.
Idea 2: Super League & 2013 RLWC appearances.
Here are some appearances they could do while back in the UK in 2013.
â€¢ Challenge Cup Final- They could deliver the over 100 year old trophy to the ground before the Challenge Cup Final! They could also be given a special presentation by the two competing teams (signed jerseys etc) at half time as well!
â€¢ Super League Grand Final- Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs have both attended numerous Super League Grand Finals from my understanding. A similar thing could be done but maybe on a more â€œformal levelâ€. Alex Ferguson and Nigel Wood could exchange Manchester United and English Rugby League signed jerseys to show the co-operation between the two organizations. Man United and Rugby League players could also shake hands and give small gifts to the other codes leaders as a mark of respect as well.
â€¢ RLWC 2013 Opening Ceremony (Cardiff) and Final (Old Trafford)- This could help boost the profile of the World Cup even further! In the opening Ceremony the World Cup Trophy could be presented before the Italy v Welsh Clash by Ryan Giggs and Gareth Thomas! They could deliver it before the game and have their photo taken with it. Also with the final a similar thing could be done where United players would be treated similarly to what I suggested before with the Challenge Cup final and ANZ NRL match.