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Talking RL: ‘If Elstone wasn’t sure about the challenges he faces...’

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14.06.2018

If Robert Elstone needs any reminding about the size of the job he has taken on, he will surely get it after he is interviewed on Sky Sports’ Golden Point tonight.

After Brian Carney has interviewed the new Super League chief executive about his hopes and challenges – and before he takes his seat – Elstone should take a look around.

And take in all the empty seats.

Salford-Widnes, a game between two clubs struggling on and off the field. One doesn’t even have an academy side, let alone a reserves.

When even some people who love rugby league aren’t too bothered about watching it – and I include myself in that group – what hope the passive fans, or neutrals, will care?

That is the challenge Elstone faces.

“We have to energise the sport,” he said on Tuesday.

Energise, the same way you energise a car by jump-starting it.

There are strengths to Super League – I was engrossed by Friday’s game between Warrington and Castleford, for example – but most seem to agree the sport needs revitalising.

It needs a reboot, a kick up the backside.

St Helens owner Eamon McManus said when he took over the club two decades ago, it was more on a par with the NRL – certainly in terms of the salaries it could afford – and bigger than rugby union’s Premiership. Not now.

And he didn’t mention that, 20 years ago, several other sports – UFC, darts, women’s football – didn’t have the profile they currently have. The NFL wasn’t playing games in England. Boxing had its........

© Wigan Today