13th January 2021, 10:55 | therfl
The RFL can today reveal that Kelsey Gentles’ brilliant cover tackle for England against Australia in the World Nines in Sydney in 2019 wasn’t just spectacular – it was historic.
A clip of the tackle went viral on Facebook, amassing an incredible tally of more than 34.5 million views.
That made it the most-viewed clip from the Facebook page of a sport’s national governing body from the UK in the whole of 2020 – with more than twice as many views as the next most popular.
The RFL’s research also suggests Kelsey’s never-say-die effort, when she ran the length of the field to pull down a rampaging Tiana Penitani, may have been the most-viewed clip of any female athlete globally in 2020 (discounting WWE).
“It’s crazy to think that the tackle has been seen so many times by so many people across the world,” says Kelsey, a 21-year-old who was a nominee for Woman of Steel after helping Castleford finish top of the Betfred Women’s Super League in 2019, and who has been a key worker during Covid-19 combining her studies at Leeds Beckett University with a part-time job on the shopfloor with the Co-Op.
“At the time I was just trying to make the tackle for my team and country, but to find out it has been so popular afterwards is a nice surprise.
“It is brilliant that Women’s Rugby League is gaining this level of traction online and it really emphasises how much the sport has grown over the last few years and the potential it has to continue even further.
“Hopefully many of the people that viewed the clip will have enjoyed it enough to come and experience the sport in person, particularly with the Rugby League World Cup taking place at the end of this year.”
The clip can be found here.
These amazing statistics were backed up by a raft of other good-news story reflecting Rugby League’s growing digital footprint in the last 12 months.
The RFL’s Facebook page had a greater year-on-year percentage growth in interactions than any other major UK sport’s National Governing Body in 2020, rising by 154% - and video views increased year-on-year by 588%, which was also more than any other NGB.
The most viewed content strands for the RFL in 2020 were around Women’s Rugby League (helped by the Kelsey clip), and also Community Game content (with a Farnley Falcons fend featuring prominently) - underlining the level of interest in the whole sport, as reflected across the RFL channels.
There was another great example of Rugby League’s family values as the most-liked post from any professional club featured the son of St Helens’ Cumbrian prop Kyle Amor during the first Covid Lockdown - find the clip here.
The most-liked Facebook post from clubs outside the Betfred Super League was Keighley’s spectacular NHS fund-raising shirt.
And there was another reminder of Rugby League’s ability to pull together through adversity as the most-liked Facebook posts for Castleford, Hull FC, Hull KR and Wigan in 2020 all paid tribute to the Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow MBE, and his inspirational battle against MND.