NITV in a League of its own

Like most footy fans, I’m a big supporter of the Marngrook Footy Show, which I’m told returns to NITV on Thursday, March 24. Can’t wait.

It’s been a long off-season and long break between footy shows, whether you’re a fan of Marngrook, various Fox Footy productions or the free-to-air offerings that have been such a big part of the footy landscape for yonks.

So I was keen to watch the latest NITV footy production, League Nation Live, which airs on Tuesday nights. The promo says its starts at 7.30 – maybe so if you live in Queensland, but it was 9pm in WA. Just saying.

Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised. Obviously everyone is still a tad nervous as you’d expect at the birth of a show such as this – the crosses from one set to another weren’t as smooth as they could have been – but the content was good, the hosts settled in as the night went on and it was clear everyone who was on camera knew what they were talking about.

Justin Hodges is a natural before the cameras, as is Hannah Hollis, who directed traffic beautifully. They were driving the show and were comfortable and relaxed in front of the lens. Jodan Perry was excellent, as was Petero Civoniceva, the Fijian-born Queensland State Of Origin and Australian prop, whose big smile and eloquent manner gave him a warm and engaging air.

Aaron Fa’Aoso and Nathan Appo also added a fair bit, and when LNL got into a bit of a rhythm, everything seemed to click.

What I liked about it was that it wasn’t just the upcoming NRL games that were being discussed at length.

There was an interview with the coach of the Ipswich Jets and a rundown of both the NSW and Queensland Cups, fantastic competitions that are often ignore by the mainstream media. This is why NITV is so important and it’s great to see these competitions being weaved into the show’s narrative.

The yarn Hodge had with Qld coach Kevin Walters was great – two mates sitting on a couch having a laugh – as was the interview with Bad Boy Ben Barba, who despite being clearly anxious, worked well. Other topics up for discussions included general chats about the Sea Eagles, technology playing a bigger role in the game and the pros and cons of the interchange system.

The introduction of the hip-hop band was a bit left field, but it didn’t detract from the format. Overall, from this punter’s perspective, the producers got the mix right and I reckon NITV may be onto a winner.

But like its AFL show, they need to be patient as the weekly slog begins.

Very much worth watching.

Tony Barrass



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