We haven’t even seen a ball kicked off yet and already, the ARU’s latest venture, the National Rugby Championship has hit a major snag.
As this article - http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby/blowup-looming-between-national-rugby-championship-teams-greater-sydney-rams-and-sydney-stars-over-waratahs-israel-folau-and-kurtley-beale/story-fni2fxyf-1226864775556 - clearly states, the Greater Sydney Rams and Sydney Stars are at loggerheads over where star player Israel Folau should stamp his name, even though due to Wallabies commitments he’s unlikely to play a game and this is only for marketing purposes.
The Rams are saying Israel should be theirs, a local junior of the area should represent his area at a higher level with pride and honour. The Sydney Stars are saying he’s their player, chose to play for their feeder club, Sydney University and therefore due to the effort they put into him, they deserve him to stay at the new club and continue to keep the clubs fans and sponsors happy.
Both of these, are very valid arguements and to be honest, both have a case in point. The issue I have however, is a comment made late on in this article, by Sydney University President David Mortimer, where it says:
Asked if he saw promotional value in Folau promoting rugby in western Sydney, Mortimer said: “Is it a promotion game, or is it a competition? We are also in the business of promoting our side, so to have players re-possessed would have a very sour taste.
Now the article goes onto talk about how University has put time, effort and supported their players through medical costs and education, which I do agree is a very valid argument as to why they should stay with the club.
The problem is though, the National Rugby Championship was designed by the ARU to create a product that will compete with the likes of the NRL and AFL in the latter half of the season. To do this, it needs to cater for all audiences and attract fans for its spectacle and close competition.
Unforutnately, the program which feeds this new comp in NSW aka. Shute Shield is from the totally opposite spectrum. It’s a comp where, to be honest, history rules. Where it’s all about the club and therefore, the richer clubs, like Sydney University and to a lesser extent Eastern Suburbs and Randwick, have been able to buy the players they want, ahead of teams which lesser money, who however with these players, could create a much more even competition.
If we were to agree with Sydney Uni that all it’s players should be playing for the Stars, based on this weeks NSW Waratahs squad alone, they’d have 9 Super Rugby players to represent their team. NSW Country would have 8 (from 2 clubs), The Rams would be next with 5 (from 5 clubs) & Northern Rays would have 3.
This looks a little bit uneven, but then when you factor in the Stars other feeder club is Balmain, the club that once upon a time guest signed Matt Giteau to a contract as opposed to NSW Country fielding blokes from the bush (nothing wrong with that by the way, I like the idea), the thoughts of an even competition start falling by the wayside.
Now as a Rams fan, but also as a Shute Shield follower, I get both sides of the argument and to be honest, I’m not that fussed where Israel goes for marketing purposes- however I would say it would help the game in Western Sydney more if he was a Ram along with Beale.
My wider concern here is why the ARU allowed Sydney Uni and Balmain to become a team together in the first place. I know that it means more cash but if the aim of the game is to create a national competition that’s actually a competition, wouldn’t it have been smarter to do what the original ARC did in 2007 and make Sydney Uni and Southern Districts become a team, or better yet, make another team out in western NSW and have Sydney Uni affiliated to it?
Having a super team in a comp that’s designed to create competition is going to cause problems not only in NSW, where this arguement is already brewing, but in the areas where this competition has actually got a chance of getting some ground on rugby league and AFL, in the form of WA, ACT and VIC.
While fans will be parochial to start off with, if any team in the NRC is allowed to become a super power just because they are better funded than the rest, then this will become a turn off for fans before the season is out.
If you look at other national competitions, like the Big Bash, one of the great successes about it is that most teams have a chance of winning every game. If we were to go with the rule of talent playing where it’s raised, this wouldn’t happen as the two Sydney teams would get back a load of players who regularly play nationally and would dominate. The fact it’s an open pool based on a cap means that the game is fair, even and entertainment levels remain high.
If the ARU wants to succeed with the NRC, this same thought process has to be taken on. Create a cap for all teams, make every marquee player open on the market to the Super Rugby state they play for and then put the rest in a pool for all teams to compete for.
I know its not going to be good news to the likes of Mr Mortimer or the Sydney Uni fanbase, but it will be good news for the future of rugby in Australia and frankly, isn’t that what this competition is really all about?
So it’s official. Andrew Fifita has announced he is headed to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on a 4 year deal rumoured to be worth over 800k a season. As a Bulldogs fan, I’m very happy with this and can’t wait to have one of the most damaging props around join our world class forward line.
Now while this story has attracted headlines for many reasons- the amount of money being offered to a forward, the amount of years given… the main thing it’s attracted attention for is the fact that Andrew decided to join another club, despite stating his preference to stay at his current club, the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks, for just over a reported $50,000 a year more than they were willing to offer him.
So the question everyone is asking is this, why does $50,000 mean so much to a player over loyalty to a club that plucked him from no where a few years ago and turned him into a superstar of the NRL. Surely they could’ve gotten a third-party agreement to fix that up and kept him.
The real answer is that in the Fifita case, that $50,000 a year extra in doesn’t actually matter. The Sharks could’ve offered him another $100k & he would probably have still gone west.
Ok, perhaps $200k more might be important in some cases, but this time, it’s about something more than that- something that can be answered by the man himself in his comments as to why he’s leaving the Sharks.
He says.. “I shed some tears and like I told them I didn’t want to leave but I am looking forward to the future. I wasn’t the smartest kid in school and if it can help me get a start in life and get a roof over my family’s head I am more than happy to help them out.” (Source- Channel 7 6pm News, 11 March 2013).
This quote says it all. Andrew wanted more than just cash- he wanted something that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs notes as the most important thing a person needs after food, sleep and breathing, something that the Cronulla side were never going to be able to give him in their current state, something that the Bulldogs could give him in bucketloads…
Andrew wanted security.
He wanted security to know that he and his family would be assured a place in the club he was at. Security that he’d be paid the amount he needed to support his young family and set up a future, security that he’d have a chance to play the best football possible over the next few years and have the best chance of getting to the highest levels as a rugby league player.
This unfortunately is something that Cronulla as a club just can’t offer at the moment.
I admire the Sharks- the way they fight against adversity, keep coming back from the brink and have now managed to not only pay off a huge debt but secure themselves financially with the massive re-development of the surrounding land around Shark Park.
The thing is though, the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks are going through a lot at the moment. They have a coach who is suspended and reportedly threatening to take legal action in the high court, they have been warned by the NRL that any further issues relating to the ASADA case could see them miss the finals series, they have ASADA yet to decide the future of much of the roster and the staff with breach notices and possibly even more fines and sanctions to come and for all the courage and fight, they are a club that look anything but stable for the next few years.
Funny thing is though, if we were in 2008- I’d be saying the same thing about my beloved Bulldogs. We were a club who were riddle with rumours and scandals and who had to beg a charity to support us as we couldn’t get a major sponsor. Six years on however, the club has completely turned things around- to the point where it is once again one of the most successful clubs in the NRL financially, has one of the best coaches in the business at the helm, has a strong playing roster, is renowned for being a family club and has sponsorship support to the hilt. There’s stability in the place and more importantly- any player who arrives there knows they will be looked after.
This is the reason why for Andrew, it was a simple choice- a hard, painful, but simple choice. He couldn’t risk staying at a club where if the fines became too much he might have to be let go to keep the club afloat, not when there was a club who could offer him just as much and also ensure he’d be on their roster for the duration of his contract at the agreed value he asked for.
That’s the thing about us human beings- give us enough to make us feel secure and we will go towards that option every day of the week- it’s how we’re designed and in the majority of us, it’s not going to change anytime soon.
So before you go and get annoyed at Andrew for not being loyal, put yourself in his shoes, see whether you could risk the opportunity he’s taken- you’ll soon clearly see that this is not about being a traitor, about being disloyal and it’s all about being secure, being safe and feeling at peace to do the best in the chance a person has been given.
At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want in life?
* the following piece is the opinion of the author and is in no way reflective of the views, thoughts and words of Andrew Fifita, the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks RLFC or Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs RLFC
Happy New Year! Can’t believe we’re at the start of another year but hopefully it’s gonna be another big one and can’t wait to share it with you.
It’s not only a new year though, but also a new avenue for Trevorjct Incorporated!
We are excited to announce that following the creation of Inspire Catholic Media, we are going to be focus more on current affairs and topical stuff.
It means that for the latest on our views on current affairs, sports, music etc. you can now either visit this tumblr or for the latest, make sure you follow @trevorjctlive on twitter!
For the faith inspiring stuff, make sure you follow my tumblr page on inspirecatholicmedia.tumblr.com or follow me on @trevorticm on twitter!
If this is all too confusing and you just want one spot to find all the stuff, well that’s now here too. The new and improved Trevorjct Incorporated website at www.trojan1103.wix.com/trevorjct has not only connections to both tumblr feeds, but also links to the Inspire Catholic Media blog and feeds to instagram too.
So yeah, there’s now a place to meet all your needs. On behalf of all of Trevorjct Inc. may 2014 be filled with much success and happiness for you all.
TJ on behalf of Trevorjct Incorporated!
Well people, it’s that time of the year… time to toast the successes of the year that has been and give well due applause for some of the great things that perhaps went unnoticed.
In 2012, we looked at music specifically after in 2011 looking at moments. In 2013, we thought, like the Old El Paso ad, why not have both!
So here it is, the top 10 sporting victories for 2013 and our top 10 music songs for 2013.
Top 10 Sporting Victories of 2013
Top 10 Songs of 2013
Special mention to: Preacher- One Republic, Steal the Light- Cat Empire, Let me down Easy- Sheppard & That Power by Will.I.Am feat. Justin Bieber.
*These are only an opinion and are debatable.
We hope you enjoyed our look back at 2013. Hopefully you will find lots of things to be excited about from it and may you have an great end to the year and lots of success in the year ahead!