According to the man they call ‘Gaz’ he is comfortable with Rugby and feels the hard transition to the 15 man code is over.
While there was no questioning the ability of Mark Gasnier as a Rugby League centre when he was at the Dragons, now, at his age it was always going to be a tough return. Gasnier has always been injury prone and with rookie talent bursting onto the scene locally – it was going to be a big ask for Gaz.
“As far as my future goals and where I see my future it is in rugby,” Gasnier confirmed on podcast RuggaMatrix. “I am not going back to rugby league.”
And while he might be a future Wallaby, it seems not only the NRL has moved on – but the St George Illawarra team itself has reformed and is performing better than ever. With plenty of options in the centres; Gaz and his pricetag would have struggled to get a look in.
The NRL game continues to be more and more of a young mans game, players are introduced to the highstandards of Toyota Cup and the removal of Reserve Grade has ensured youth is the future.
At the time, the loss of Gower, Gaz and Sonny Bill Williams was big news. SBW in particular was huge; however the game has moved on so quickly. Already in 2009, we have the likes of youngsters Jamaal Idris and Antonio Winterstein bursting on to the scene, big young forwards Keith Galloway and Dave Taylor continuing to grow and impress and so much other talent.
As players get on in years, the game of Rugby Union, certainly the French standard will ideally suit them. Less training, less pressure, less defence and less intencity on the field. On top of that, players will get paid big dollar. While some see it as a crisis, the continued development of NRL youth and ultimately the toughest Rugby League competition in the world – means that departing players are forgotten and replaced more quickly than ever.