Written by Stuart McLennan
The freelance writing game is often accompanied by hours of solitude. When the dog’s asleep under the table and the only sound is the tapping of the laptop keyboard there is an audio void that cries out to be filled.
Instead of relying on the radio or music collections, I listen to podcasts. They not only fill the gap, they inform and inspire some of my stories.
It’s no surprise that sport dominates my listening but I am selective about what gets a run through the Bluetooth speaker.
The criteria is simple. They should contain news or a least offer a different perspective on the subjects that get a hammering via the tabloids or TV panel discussions. Any show longer than an hour and you are most likely waffling.
There are three regular podcasts that stand out in my world.
A Sporting Discussion hosted by Melbourne lads Andrew Donnison and AJ Mithen and Dead in Goal Podcast featuring journalists James Smith and Jeff Centera of Inside Sport magazine fame, are two quality podcasts that get a solid run in my apartment.
Last year I came across three dedicated rugby league fans from the Chasing Kangaroos podcast. Not only do they love their footy, they are passionate international expansionists who want to see the game grow across the globe.
If you want to find the goss on the latest Roosters recruitment rumour or hear yet another debate about off field player behaviour then then you won’t get much of that sort of discussion..
If you are keen to know about the Balkan Super League’s first Italian team (Lignano Sharks) or the latest rugby league news from Chile then seek them out.
Michael Carbone, his best mate Charlie Monti and brother in law Jake Watson grew up playing the game and following St George in the case of Michael and Charlie. While neither Carbone and Monti had aspirations of playing at the top level Watson was on a path to the big time representing Parramatta at the junior representative level before serious injury forced him to give the game away. Later he agreed to a swansong season with the now defunct Washington DC Slayers in the USA.
While all three now watch the game from the grandstand, it is international rugby league that gets their juices flowing.
“As far as I am aware, there is no regular podcast which was created for the sole purpose of covering the international game,” Carbone who works as a marketing professional told Everything Rugby League.
“Rather than wait around for someone else to do it, we saw this as an opportunity to help grow the game, spread the word and become a voice for the international game in Australia.
“I can’t pinpoint the moment I became an expansionist or fell in love with the international game. I suppose my Italian heritage means I always naturally had an interest in the game outside Australia.”
What works well for the Chasing Kangaroos and ultimately makes it more listenable is the 30 minute time limit, three topic discussion and the golden points (short updates on rugby league from around the world).
“I’d like to say our formula came about due to extensive research, but the truth is it came down to personal preference and ‘gut feel,’ Carbone explains.
“We understand true expansionists like us would be more than happy to listen to a 2 hour show. But our goal is to grow interest in the international game.
“The trick for us is to produce a short, sharp 30 minute show each week that slots in nicely between the other content. You can easily knock over an episode on your work commute or morning jog.”
While Carbone and his cohorts have been overwhelmed with the support and interest in the podcast so far they have further ambitions for the show and the direction of international rugby league.
“I believe the NRL and SL seasons need to be a little shorter, to make way for some more international contests.
“We need to help the smaller nations make money which they can funnel through to development. I believe the NRL is starting to do this in the pacific. We are about to see rugby league explode in this region, and the NRL is going to benefit with a wider talent pool and audience.
“We also need to find ways to organically make international RL more important than State of Origin.
“Our ambition is to grow our audience as much as we can and really help promote the international game. I see opportunities in future where we could help emerging nations grow and really build something special.”
So what about the name? Chasing Kangaroos is a moniker that sounds, well, very Aussie.
“Sometimes when you are naming anything – a podcast, a business, a child – when you hear it you just know it’s right.
“It literally only took a 10 second brainstorm for this name. It was Charlie’s idea, “What about Chasing Kangaroos?” It made so much sense.
“The Australian Kangaroos have been so dominate for so long, and we are covering the nations that are chasing that number one spot.”
With so much to look forward to in international rugby league as nations continue to initiate and develop domestic competitions and we enjoy a full international calendar, a midweek fix of Chasing Kangaroos will help keep me on point.