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NRL dials in new fans

It is only the end of Round 4, yet I have watched NRL from nearly every vantage point imaginable. From the more traditional places to watch Rugby League – general admission with a plastic-cup beer and could-be-warmer pie, corporate box, media box, the pub and the couch, to much more unorthodox locations – the beach, dinners, weddings, the back seat of a cab, alternating between GPS and Rugby League lost on Easter vacation and on trains – fair to say I have watched it from everywhere.

You need to be able to adapt – but the ability to watch games on the phone has changed the way fans interact with the game.

While being at the ground is undoubtedly the best place to watch the game, unless you are NRL.com columnist Steve Mascord, attending four games a week is simply not a viable option. Most of us settle for one in-person game and then a pub or a couch to watch the seven others.

The NRL Live 2013 app has changed the way I organise weekends, as I know that I’ll always have Rugby League with me no matter where I am and what I’m doing.

It is quite a sight to be at a wedding, with 12 people crammed around a humble phone watching a game. Tragic? Quite possibly, but it is a medium that unites so many people. And let’s face it: those speeches can drag on, right?

In fact we almost got lost during the Easter weekend; because instead of using the phone’s GPS to navigate like normal people, we were watching the Dragons upset the Sharks. It was only after much hesitation and reluctance that the coverage was interrupted so that we could find out where we were going, get the right coordinates and then return to the highway and continue on our journey. No sooner had we found our way, the footy was back on. True story.

Technology is changing the way we consume entertainment and Rugby League is no different. My grandparents were the first people on their street to have a radio; now I have NRL streamed live to my phone wherever I go. Just don't call me when the footy is on!

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Also – the NRL Live 2013 app streams every post-match press conference. Fans can watch their coach and captain go through the match post-mortems and media types who can’t get to the game can still stay across what is being said. Journalists take note – the microphones stay open during the time it takes for the first press conference to end and the next one to start. Be careful what you talk about – it’s being streamed to the world live!

Plenty of Bunnies

There is a lot of buzz around southern Sydney about the Rabbitohs. They have a brilliant forward pack; great penetration out of hooker with Issac Luke and Nathan Peats; their halfback is playing well beyond his years with one of the game’s most astute kicking games; and words simply can’t do Greg Inglis justice. They also have one of the greatest finishers the modern game has seen in Nathan Merritt. He simply cannot stop scoring.

Still, it is only Round 4, and the cardinal and myrtle faithful, much like long-suffering St George Illawarra fans before them, will not be totally convinced until that little statue with Norm and Arthur is lifted. The Premiership is only just starting and their coach will be quick to keep a lid on expectations at Redfern.

Kids in Free

Any fan under the age of 12 can attend tonight’s Roosters-Eels match at Allianz Stadium for free. It is a great way to finish the long weekend. How often do you get the chance to see the likes of Anthony Minichiello, Jarryd Hayne, Mitchell Pearce and Sonny Bill Williams for free?

Happy Easter!

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