Brian Carney urges Super League to do a better job of selling itself
Super League does not do enough to sell itself, says Sky presenter and former Wigan and Great Britain winger Brian Carney.
The 2021 Betfred Super League season gets under way on Friday with memories still fresh of November’s epic Grand Final between Wigan and St Helens, a game won in the last seconds through Jack Welsby’s dramatic try.
Carney believes the league’s failure to capitalise on such momentous events amounts to a missed opportunity to raise the profile of the game.
“We had as dramatic a finish as you could have hoped for but what did we do to capitalise on it?” he asked.
“We get the great finishes and we get the superstar players that the game throws up but how do more people not know about this, how is our game not more popular?
“We have to be better at selling the story that we have. The players and the teams continuously create great stories and collectively as a game we haven’t been brilliant at telling those stories.
“What do we do to project ourselves in front of a national audience? The answer is very little.”
Carney is anticipating a highly competitive Super League and believes it could finally be Warrington’s year.
“Warrington to win it,” he said. “And I’m not going to use the coach leaving as a motivational factor.
“They have got a squad that finished level on winning percentage with St Helens last year so they’re not having to come from far behind the pack.
“They’ve added Greg Inglis to their squad and I expect Gareth Widdop to be like a new signing this time. He is such a good player but he was such a disappointment last year.
“They’ve also taken the captaincy off Chris Hill and, if that is not a fire lit under Chris Hill, I don’t know what is.
“It’s a slight on him, there is no question about that, and it will inspire Chris Hill to reach the standards he is still capable of reaching.”
Carney says it would be refreshing to have a new name on the trophy and he is excited at the prospect of a keenly fought battle to avoid relegation.
“I can’t see there being a side that goes through a season with just three wins which Hull KR had last season,” he said. “I think it’s going to go to the very end.”
Warrington will be without former Australia Test centre Inglis for their opening game but Carney expects him to prove a box-office hit when he finally takes to the field.
“I am excited to see him back but it’s tinged with a little bit of trepidation,” he said.
“Here we have a great player that hasn’t played in two years and he has got to try and get his body into some sort of shape.
“There is no chance of ever getting back to the Greg Inglis peak of 2014 or 2015, nobody is expecting that.
“But, if he can get to 60 or 70 per cent of his peak, you’re talking about an unbelievably good player, one that not many centres will like to mark up against pre-game but will talk about having played against Greg Inglis post-game for a long time.”
:: Watch all six matches from rounds 1 and 2 of the 2021 Super League season live on Sky Sports and NOW from Friday.