“The mic’d up player” continues to be one of the best features in televised sport. Too often we see pointless interactive endeavours that bring very little to the viewer experience, this is not the case when a microphone is placed on a player.
This is Ashton Sims, a former NRL player who now turns out for the Warrington Wolves in the Super League. For many Australian fans, the competition represents nothing more than a joke display of weaker players, partially bolstered by a group of ageing professionals from the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed, a huge bridge does exist between the two competitions, but trivializing the Super League is a mistake–and something that should be abundantly clear after NRL Champions Cronulla lost to Super League Champions Wigan earlier this year. Sadly, the 22-6 scoreline represents nothing more than soundboard for excuse making, rather than a platform for growing the sport outside the NRL.
Sims was a big part of the Warrington team that beat Brisbane a few days before the Cronulla loss. Again, this is something that holds little distinction with fans down under. Until our sport appreciates the merit of having two thriving competitions, we will continue on this stunted path.
Ashton was made for Super League, his fire and energy seems wasted in the NRL; a competition with little to no atmosphere. Everything revolves around the State of Origin, and you really notice this when you attend club games. The quality of rugby is incredible, but the crowds are passionless.
The clip is of Ashton in the control room during a 2015 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Quarter Final against Leigh. Like any rugby league fan, I cross my fingers and hope there will be a time when the Super League can compete with the NRL’s quality, because the enthusiasm of fans is second to none.