Where’s the loyalty gone in the NRL?

Loyalty in the NRL is gone in 2008 as SBW and Mark Gasnier quit Wheres the loyalty gone writes Ricky Ricardo; – has the last ounce of loyalty gone with the likes of Mark Gasnier, Sonny Bill Williams and the Union brigade?

And what is it with these get out clauses in NRL contracts these days? What’s the point of agreeing to sign a multi-year contract with a team only to have a get out clause that says a player can leave after a year?

How would the NRL club feel losing one of their best players or one of their most promising youngsters all because of a clause such as that.

That’s where the loyalty situation becomes a problem in the NRL.

And something has to be done to stop such things happening, while admittedly we seem to have at least ‘one crisis’ every year in the Rugby League – this player drain is something that needs to be addressed immediately.

Dragons CEO Peter Doust didn’t do a whole bunch to stop Gasnier from going to play Rugby Union in France. The bumbling Dragons knew for some time that Gasnier was unhappy and probably didn’t do enough to accommodate the star back. It was pointless trying to work out a backup plan in the weeks or even days leading up to the Gaz departure. Way too late guys.

How any NRL club could simply let it happen is beyond me.

Considering Mark Gasnier is one of the greatest centres in the game, surely more could have been done by the Dragons initially and then possibly the NRL.

But its too late now, he made up his mind and there’s no stopping him. And in letting him go, we’ve just lost one of the greatest NRL
players of the modern era. This has to stop. The exodus to Rugby Union may just outweigh the exodus to England with the UK Super League soon, if the NRL isn’t careful – this could really put the problem into the dangerous category. With the European Union clubs throwing big dollars around – NRL players would be eyeing the big dollars no doubt.

Think about this.

asnier has a $600,000 a year deal until 2011. What more could he want? He’s getting paid a hell of a lot of money, is idolised by many young kids out there, is looked up to by all the youngsters coming through the Dragons youth teams, admired by fans and other players alike, playing in one of the most prestigious clubs in the NRL, what more does he possibly need or want?

The NRL have claimed it was too expensive to retain Gasnier and it would send clubs broke to try and compete. But losing someone like Mark Gasnier probably costs even more – gatetakings, merchandise, representative fixtures – the list goes on.

That is something the NRL cannot afford to cop.

We want to make the game even bigger than what it is, but we continue to let our best players go to England. And those aren’t going to
England to play in the UK Super League are looking at local or international Rugby Union clubs. So it’s a leaking bucket of talent in all different directions.

Would you believe that there are only 26 players left in the NRL that have played for the same club their whole career? Soon to be 25 that is with Corey Hughes being squeezed out of the Bulldogs.

That only leaves only 25 players who are a single club player.

Who would have guessed that Petero Civoniceva was moving to Penrith? Who would have known that Steve Menzies and Danny Buderus would finish their careers in England?

No one I bet.

It cannot keep happening.

Its about drive and passion and heart. If a player has the desire to play day in and day out for the same NRL team then let them,
they have the heart and the character and deserve a special arrangement. The faith that one day they can be remembered as a
player who stuck by his team in the good time and the bad would sit nicely with themselves, the fans and the games elite.

Darren Lockyer, Tonie Carroll, Corey Parker, Hazem El Masri, Alan Tounge, Steve Simpson, Matt Bowen, Nathan Hindmarsh, Nathan Cayless, Luke Burt, Rhys Wesser, Matt Cooper, Ben Hornby, Anthony Minichello

The only players that will remain after the end of the current season to have played with the same NRL team their whole career.
Take away from that list, Steve Menzies, Danny Buderus, Tony Puletua, Jason Ryles, Wairangi Koopu and Logan Swann, all going to England to play in the UK Super League tournament.

Quite amazing isn’t it.

Again it reinforces the message of retaining the games best players. Greg Florimo, former North Sydney Bears legend says “The NRL should provide greater salary cap exemptions for long serving players than those that are already in place”

Currently all clubs are given a $100,000 total allowance to keep players who have served a continuous period of eight years in first grade.
“There’s no other reason that those guys aregoing to play other than the cash” Florimo said. “If you’ve got a guy who has been with the one NRL club for more than 10 years, there has to be some exemption for him – some sort of reward for that loyalty to both the club and the player. I think our game is built on loyalty, tradition, heritage and those sorts of qualities are quickly disappearing unfortunately.”

Outgoing Bulldogs Hooker Corey Hughes says “I think it is sad that these guys are being pushed away from their clubs. Its sad for the fans who grow to love the players.”

Strong words there coming from a current player on the current situation. Corey Hughes himself being forced out due to salary cap restrictions.
On the other hand, former St George great John Raper said let the man acclaimed as the world’s best centre “Mark Gasnier” leave the Dragons because coach Wayne Bennett would develop “three Mark Gasnier’s” at St George Illawarra when he takes over the reigns in 2009.

“If he’s not happy at the club then let him go”. said Raper Snr

But we can only bury out head in the sand for so long, we are fortunate to have some good juniors coming through – but the quality cannot continue when the cream keeps getting taken away from the top.

One thought on “Where’s the loyalty gone in the NRL?”

  1. Should be more Aboriginal and torres Strait Islanders to many foreiginers with no respect of the country,go out west and do some recuitering in te communities look after our own and they will look after the NRL

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