NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has reaffirmed the need for the code's players, media and fans to talk the game up amid recent negative reports and comments.
Greenberg spoke at a Touch Football launch at Rugby League Central on Wednesday regarding the state of the game over the opening six weeks of the Telstra Premiership season.
"It's something that has been bouncing around for a number of years I think in rugby league, where we don't talk up the game enough or the many positives in the game enough," Greenberg said.
"I'm determined to do that and determined to have players, coaches and clubs talk about the many great things the game does.
"When I see negativity, I'm desperately trying to find positivity. That doesn't mean for one moment that the game is perfect, that we're not going to make mistakes, but geez the game does a lot of great things.
"It's followed by millions of people, it's played and adored by millions of people and I would like to see people affectionate about it, talk about it positively and really connect with it through social media – that's one channel – but a strong one."
Greenberg fell short of declaring the case involving Brisbane Broncos prop Matthew Lodge had taken a toll on the code but re-iterated that interest in rugby league was on the rise in both Australia and internationally.
The NRL boss says it comes down to stories being told to a wider audience.
"The research that I look at regularly about [the] perception of the game and the brand's perception of how fans look at us, the primary over-arching thing that comes through the research is negativity within the sport," Greenberg said.
"It's about how it's portrayed and how people talk about it. That starts with us and the leaders of the game and how we pitch the sport and communicate.
"We can do a better job of that, which is why I'm continually in my travels with clubs and players."
Greenberg had a simple message for the near 500 players in the NRL.
"When you get an opportunity to stand in front of a camera, talk passionately about the sport you play in, talk the game up and talk about how much you love being inside the sport of rugby league," Greenberg said.
"If you do that, the sport will grow. It's a simple message."