The St George Illawarra Dragons have surprised everybody in the Rugby League world this week by flatly refusing to participate in the annual ‘Rugby League Summertime’ promotion that runs on Foxtel each pre-season.
In what is an extremely poor stance by the Dragons, the club has refused to allow David Tapp and his production company into the club to interview players and coaching staff for the 30 minute editorial that runs on Foxtel in the leadup to the NRL season.
Every other NRL club has taken part in this production and many fans look forward to an inside look into their club as the pre-season winds down towards the kick off of the season proper.
It’s totally free publicity for the clubs, with the cameras providing valuable exposure for club sponsors and business partners.
Surely Dragons sponsors such as the St George Bank and Reebok would be ringing club boss Peter Doubst to ask why the club wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to access free airtime and push the brands of the clubs backers?
At first St George Illawarra offered no excuse for the refusal, however after further questions were asked – the club said they were unimpressed with the format of the series from last year and wanted greater control over the production.
This excuse is laughable.
David Gallop should be on the phone to the Dragons and demanding answers over this refusal – as every other NRL club has done their bit to promote the game prior to the season and offered fans wide reaching access through Tapp’s production for Fox Sports.
At a time when membership to NRL clubs is being fiercely promoted, it would have been ideal for the Dragons to mention this on the free airtime.
It’s hard to imagine teams from rival sporting codes refusing free airtime, certainly a 30 minute slot on a popular sports segment.
This continues an unsatisfactory trend in recent times with the Dragons. It hasn’t helped the media cause having Wayne Bennett at the club. While Bennett is improving, as seen with his All Stars InvolvementÂ – he has a hell of a long way to go.
Look atÂ the Darius Boyd interview from last season. The single word answers and almost disrespectful interview made NRL and Rugby League a laughing stock in the eyes of other codes.
Wake up Saints, this latest stance is unacceptable not just to the NRL as a whole, but especially to your lifeblood – your sponsors and your fans.