The news that Zak Hardaker has been given a 14-month ban can be found on or in almost every news outlet in this country. Even the Shropshire Star and Ledbury Reporter - two niche newspapers providing those on the Welsh border and London respectively with up-to-date reports - managed to find space for the Rugby League story. It therefore seems that the sport is only given the widespread coverage it deserves when something negative happens.

Bad press

This latest frenzy surrounding Hardaker's ban is not the only time that a negative announcement has prompted a barrage of Media attention.

The initial news that Hardaker had been dropped for Castleford's Grand Final as well as the report that Rangi Chase had been given a two-year ban for cocaine use were even printed as mainstream news by tabloids such as The Sun and the Daily Mail. Yes, it's big news, but the sport can also boast about many success stories too.

Yet, the positives of Rugby League only seem to crop up in media outlets that strive to promote the game. The likes of the League Express and League Weekly newspapers cover everything good and bad currently happening in the sport whilst local and regional papers such as the Yorkshire Post do the same for particular teams in those areas - in this case Yorkshire-based teams such as Leeds, Castleford and Wakefield.

Society itself

Why is it then that the negatives outweigh the positives in terms of what is written about the sport in the UK as a whole? Clearly, negative stories sell more than the positive ones. This isn't just a Rugby League problem, but a societal issue in general. People nowadays are so focused on finding the bad in something that the good is often forgotten.

League 1 side York City Knights came so close to pulling off one of the greatest shocks in Challenge Cup history recently - before they eventually went down 22-34 against Catalans Dragons - yet you would struggle to find any report on it outside the generic Rugby League papers and BBC and Sky websites.

Likewise, York's record-breaking 144-0 victory over West Wales Raiders, which set a new record score and margin of victory for the professional British game, has largely been met with silence outside of Rugby League quarters.

The Women's Super League has also kicked off in 2018, yet you will be hard pressed to find any kind of praise for the sport in laying the foundations for an increasingly popular women's game.

Rugby League deserves better

Rugby League is a fast, hard-hitting and skilful sport that deserves more and better coverage. Whilst announcements such as the length of Hardaker's ban gets pages of coverage, the positives that emanate from the sport such as the increasingly exciting race for the Championship top four or the launch of the women's game are largely being ignored.

Newspapers may well be there to sell copies and websites to attract visitors with major announcements, but it surely wouldn't hurt to include more positive stories about Rugby League. After all, the positives by far outweigh the negatives, but you wouldn't think it if you looked at what the media chooses to focus on.