Dear Todd, I am writing this letter to voice my mixed emotions on your tumultuous career to date, in an effort to comprehend where you stand right now.
I’m saying your name out loud right now.
It’s like an audible thud of disappointment.
The metaphorical sound of how you’ve made league fans feel over the years.
Busted for drink-driving in ’06?
A high-speed police chase in ’07?
Urinated on a guy in ’08?
Set a mate’s bum on fire in ’09?
When the Roosters picked you up I didn’t think much of it, granted. I thought, here’s another big money, bad boy recruit that will do nothing but continue our tenancy at the bottom of the ladder.
However, 2010 was your year to shine. And you did. You quit the grog, focused on footy, took the team to the Grand Final and bagged the Dally M. You even put on the green and gold for the Kangaroos.
You were kicking goals, son.
Then you got caught drink-driving in February.
The club backed you despite the public outcry, before you threw it all away again, in an August bender with Anthony Watts.
What happened man?
Don’t you understand? When you were off the alcohol you played your best footy?
When the club stood by you early this year I was glad. I defended you against other journalists who were intent on calling you a “grub”. The February mishap seemed like it could have happened to anyone. It was blown out of proportion I thought. Many still defend you to this day.
But it wasn’t blown out of proportion was it? You put yourself in a situation that could have been avoided. This was just the start of the downward spiral of false promises, nods and handshakes.
I believed the hogwash you sold to the press. That you’d get back to footy, kerb the alcohol, and focus on what mattered. Did you ever really intend on doing all that?
Then, low and behold, you emerge on the back pages of the paper leading a boozy night out with teammates, reportedly after a tattoo session.
The Roosters tore up your contract, and I was glad. I wasn’t going to defend you anymore. How could I?
How many warnings did you need before you thought they were serious? That the club was serious? That the fans were serious? All we wanted was the best from you. A bit of self control.
I see that you’ve now been picked up by the Sharks. I suppose they’re desperate. It makes sense.
But is it going to be any different? Cronulla might not be the Cross but it’s still got the nightspots.
They don’t have you on an alcohol ban or curfew which sounds good in theory. Though in the past you have admitted that you don’t feel you can control yourself like other players can.
How long will it be before you get snapped stumbling out of Northies?
I hope for your sake this doesn’t happen. Gallop says you need to avoid risky situations. Remember that. If there’s one parcel of Mr G wisdom worth noting, it’s that.
You’ve got oodles of talent. Talent only few are gifted with. You’ve shown you can put it to good use. It’d be an awful shame to see it go to waste.
You’ve got to ask yourself – do you want to be in the NRL or not?
Don’t be a duffer.
This really is your last chance. Make it count.
Don’t be the definition of “bringing the game into disrepute”.
Fight it. Have a good season, and keep out of the headlines.
Treat your body like a temple, keep your mind on the footy, find yourself a gal, and make the most of what you’ve been given.
It’s that simple.
Oh, and listen to your mum more. Mums are always right.
Sincere regards and well wishes.