During this time at home, people have found a variety of ways to still socialise with each other.
With the re-opening of the 2020 season upon us, what is the best way we can watch rugby league with people while the pubs are still closed?
The answer is Twitter.
Twitter itself is a fantastic medium due to its audience. Whenever creating anything, you must consider who your audience is. For Facebook and Instagram, often you are posting to known friends, so your posts are forgivable and personal.
Twitter is more like being a comic at an open-mic night. Your posts are sent to an audience you cannot see, and thus it encourages you to be better. The creator attempts to ensure any stranger scrolling past reading your thoughts sticks around to interact. This is a powerful motivator when people are creating content, and it is what makes the rugby league Twitter community so great.
Rugby league Twitter is a magical forest. Like most magical forests it can be challenging to traverse. It has its paths and people you should avoid, and its characters and passages that are welcome additions to your life. Below is the map of some of the best places to visit.
However, each region has a much larger population of excellent accounts than outlined here. I limited myself to four for the sake of the reader’s attention span. It is also worth noting that when I considered who might be the best accounts people should start their rugby league Twitter journey with, I asked Twitter. The accounts and summaries below are inspired by their ideas and comments.
Statisticians and analysts
These accounts put in hours of unpaid work to provide us with unique and unbiased reflections of game play. Even more amazingly, they will go and research most of your wild and outrageously complex questions. If you are looking for content like this, follow accounts like @AndrewRLP, @CTObstruction, @kenji_ball and @pythagoNRL.
Rugby league comedy
These accounts are easily the most entertaining part of the Twitter community. Their lightning fast response to news and events are their strength. Through retweets and favouriting, the best memes and comments are celebrated and shared. If you are looking for content like this follow accounts like @Former_legend, @Budulnya, @jackkcronin and @Simpsons_NRL.
News and insights
These accounts find and synthesise breaking news. There is a mountain of rugby league news, and not all of it is worth reading. These accounts cut through the clickbait to provide educated opinions and insights needed in this age of information. If you are looking for content like this follow accounts like @campo37, @JasonNRL, @nrlphysio, and @FootySmiles.
Rugby league podcasts
Almost all rugby league podcasts endeavour to interact with the fans and listeners through Twitter. Because of this, most podcasts have created fantastic little communities around them. Listening to the podcasts and interacting with the podcasts on Twitter is a great way of finding new and like-minded people. If you are looking for small rugby league communities follow accounts like @TWiLeague, @voluntarytackle, @chasingroospod and @NRLBoomRookies.
Due to Twitter’s policy around account creation, people often create additional accounts servicing something creatively strange or wonderfully odd. @RowdyOnTheHour only tweets the time on the hour, every hour, with a picture of Dale Shearer. @BadlyDrawnRL tweets pictures they have drawn of rugby league players, and reviews other peoples’ drawings. @nrl_twit just posts photos that precede unfortunate rugby league events. @BoringNRLguy only tweets things that are deafeningly boring.
Twitter is a magical place to follow rugby league. During the upcoming period where we still can’t enjoy the NRL at the pub, this place will be your local hotel, bartender, drunk local, and new best friends.
I hope to see you on there.