Thursday, 14 June 2012

Mad Monday - Mid-season Signings (2012)

This week saw the signing of current Dragons player Beau Scott by Newcastle for 4 years, commencing in 2013.

This absurd signing is made less so by the fact that the Roosters last year signed James Maloney from the Warriors, effective in 2013 as well.

These are a string of mid-season signings that have brought about the ire of many a league fan over many years of late, so much so that it has raised the old issue as to whether there should be a draft.

Talks of a draft in Rugby League have always been quickly stopped by the NRL who simply say "Terry Hill", which has always been met with the same eerie silence as the term "Superleague".

In 1991, Terry Hill was drafted by Easts. He didn't like the decision and contested it in court, and won. The draft in Rugby League died and has never been back.

However the time is now right. The climate for a draft in 1991 was not right. Player wages back then were not that good, unless you were one of the few elite players. Everyone else had to have jobs outside of Rugby League. Just recently I saw an old game on TV between Norths and Wests in 1991.

When they focussed on a player they had the usual player career stats as well as that players occupation.

An argument made today about the draft concept and why it shouldn't be introduced is because it means players won't be allowed to play for the team in the area they played their junior footy, or where they grew up.

At first look, its a fair call. But when you look a little deeper, you soon see that it is absurd.

Only 5 of the 16 teams have at least half of their 25-man NRL squads who played junior footy in the area of the NRL team they currently represent. Approximately 38% of NRL players are juniors of the team they currently represent.

Thus putting an end to that nonsense argument.

The NRL needs a draft. Player contracts were once iron clad, not so much legally, but because players were not interested in changing clubs that often. Now its such a frequent occurrence that it no longer matters to fans where a player comes from. Loyalty is a dying tradition which is why its celebrated so much more passionately now.

Bring in the draft, players are happily changing clubs all the time, even a year before their current contract ends. It will be better for the game and it would also help further even out the competition and make the most of all of the games juniors nurseries.

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