Super League urged to stop ‘whinging’ and and make a good first impression on Channel 4

Head coach Richard Agar says Leeds Rhinos are “privileged” to be in Channel 4’s first televised live Betfred Super League game today and urged for “whinging” to end so the sport’s potential can be fully maximised.

For the first time in the competition’s history, fixtures will be shown live on terrestrial television this season with Channel 4 broadcasting 10 matches and 10 more in 2023.

Leeds’s season opener with Warrington Wolves at Headingley (12.30pm) is the first and Agar is aware of what a golden opportunity it is for rugby league – a sport that traditionally feels it does not get the exposure it deserves – to pitch itself to a whole new and vast audience.

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“It’s brilliant and I’m really excited to go home afterwards, watch it and have a look at the presentation,” he said.

“We’re really excited and privileged to be involved in the first game. Not just as Leeds coach but as a rugby league person, I think it’s great for the game and I’m really excited to see what it brings. It’s a great chance to make a first impression.”

Agar, a studious thinker on the sport who has worked in the NRL and coached France, hopes Channel 4’s fresh support can drive participation levels and attract new fans/sponsors but the sport must stop infighting.

He said: “The product is the key and how you showcase it. I’ve got my own opinions on certain elements of the game, and think rules could be tinkered with to give us a bit of a better spectacle.

“But tinkering with league structures? There are bigger challenges for us than just doing things that are a little cosmetic.

Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

“What’s always been rugby league’s saviour has been the players. They showcase their unbelievable talent, athleticism and toughness, and to get that out on a platform like Channel 4 gives us an unbelievable opportunity. We’ve all got a collective responsibility to make sure we’re doing our bit. Rather than us all whinge about what’s not right, why don’t we all try and do something about it? Because we all love rugby league. Let’s embrace it and get it back going to a point where we’re really happy and raving about it again.”

Leeds Rhinos photocall, as Richard Agar loks ahead to new campaign. Picture: Simon Hulme