Super League players need cultural change, says Kris Radlinski

Kris Radlinski has spoken about the cultural changes needed among Super League players.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 10:16 am
Kris Radlinski is Wigan Warriors' executive director

The Warriors' executive director questioned how many of the competition's stars are investable, as well as their lifestyle choices away from the training grounds.

He revealed some of the England players haven't been able to watch footage sent to them as they don't own laptops.

And during challenging times following the pandemic, he believes a shift would help take the game to "a different level".

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"I think we need to make some cultural changes to take our game to another level," the former Test full-back said during a wide-ranging interview on the Out of Your League podcast (see embedded YouTube link).

"We have a freebie mentality in rugby league. 'Of course I'll post that on Twitter if I get two free T-shirts'. The superstars are turning down thousands of pounds if they don't believe in a product.

"If I look at social media platforms of some of our players - even the more talented ones - a lot of them, they'd be uninvestable to be brutally honest with you.

"If you looked at the pictures, there'd be pictures of nights out. Look at who they're following... we all know what I'm saying. Look at what they're liking.

"Big companies are doing this, they're auditing profiles to see if these people are investable. So we need a cultural change in rugby league to take us to a different level.

"It's personal brand. If you did an audit, how many of our players would be investable?"

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He questioned how many of rugby league's players live the same life as top athletes in other sports.

"I love the Cristiano Ronaldo documentary, he's a gazillionaire, but he's still looking for ways to get better," said Radlinski.

"I'm not saying every player can afford a pool in his house, but if I walked in to our players' houses, would it look like the house of a professional sportsman - and by that I mean by that is if I open the fridge, what would be in it?

"Am I tripping over a foam roller on the floor?

"Has he got an ice machine?

"Has he got a laptop - Waney is kicking off that some of his England players haven't got laptops to watch the clips."

Radlinski also spoke of the challenges the sport faces as it prepares to welcome fans back, as the reduced Sky Sports TV deal begins to make its impact next year and clubs address paying back Government loans which helped them survive when Covid-19 hit - at a time when rugby league is trying to appeal to a younger fanbase.

"They reckon you need a jersey on a kid by the time they're eight years old, and they're in for life. The challenge is we're competing with so many other things, phones, tablets and gaming," he added.

"My son, who is 11, he used to love coming to the games with me. Now, if he's got a match on his Xbox... that's a worry for me that my son would rather stay ay home. So we have some challenges ahead."