Can we please stop comparing rookies to NRL legends?

Keith Sheldon Roar Guru

By Keith Sheldon, Keith Sheldon is a Roar Guru

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    I am sick of hearing commentators, journalists and fans comparing new talents to current and recently retired legends.

    It is one of the most annoying things about modern rugby league. In my worst nightmares, I still see Latrell Mitchell scoring his first try, in Round 2 of 2016, and Gary Belcher bleating “Who does this remind you of? Greg Inglis!”

    I am sick of debuting fullbacks being compared to Inglis, I am sick of new halves being compared to Andrew Johns, and I am sick of fresh-faced dummy-halves being compared to Cameron Smith.

    I understand the purpose is to build hype for new guys and make people excited to see them play, but it is overused and counterproductive.

    It puts huge amounts of pressure on these youngsters. Comparing someone that has played 30 minutes of first grade to a player who has represented Australia countless times hypes them up far too much.

    Also, it would have to just feel weird. Imagine if you got a job as a bartender, and on your first shift customers were saying, “Oh wow, you are the greatest bartender I have seen, you will become a billionaire’s private bartender in a few years.” It would be weird and put impossibly high expectations on you, especially if in a few years you were still working the same job, with the same customers coming in, now wondering why you are still at the same place.

    And what happens if these players don’t kick on? What happens when they turn out to be a flash in the pan, or just a serviceable first grader? Public opinion turns on them faster than a politician turns on his election promises.

    For example, look at Luke Brooks. He had an impressive debut and for years he was hyped as the next Andrew Johns. But a few years down the track, he hasn’t developed and public opinion is sour on him. Not through any fault of his own, he is a bog-standard half at the moment, and people are disappointed because they expected the world due to whom he was compared.

    Luke Brooks argues about having to leave the field with concussion

    Not only that, it cheapens these legends’ legacy. Imagine being Inglis, a rare talent who can be just unstoppable with a perfect mix of power and speed. Now, imagine if one day someone who played well for a season in the under 20s was being compared to you. It seems to say ‘You are good, but this random young guy can replace you’. Sometimes talents like this are irreplaceable.

    My main problem if that these comparisons are so common. I wouldn’t mind if Matt Moylan was called ‘Lockyer-esque’ in 2014, as he set up a try every couple of rounds. But I don’t want to hear the comparisons to Darren Lockyer every time the Panthers skipper touches the damn ball, like we have experienced in the past.

    Also, it is applied to far too many players. Name a spine player that has had a good debut season who hasn’t been compared to a former player. I legitimately cannot think of one. Tom Trbojevic has been compared to Brett Stewart, Nathan Cleary to Johnathan Thurston, Jayden Brailey to Michael Ennis, and the list goes on and on.

    Weirdly, we don’t get the legend comparisons for many non-spine players.

    Finally, it actually takes away from what the young guys are currently doing. Take the Latrell Mitchell debut try, where, from close to the line, he shrugged off a few Canberra players to score. The commentators were talking more about Inglis than about the kid who actually scored the try.

    Instead of talking about how strong he must be to shake off those defenders, they spent minutes talking about someone else.

    This constant comparison to legends needs to stop. It hurts both the rookies that are being given this comparison and the careers of the legends themselves.

    Latrell Mitchell isn’t the next Greg Inglis, he is the next Latrell Mitchell.

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • March 17th 2017 @ 3:46am
      The Spectator said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:46am | ! Report

      How annoying is it, haveing a player compared to a great works out bad for said player more often than not, commentators cant help themselves, they all want to be the guy who saw that talent before anyone else. Gus, ” as i stated before the season proper”!

    • March 17th 2017 @ 5:42am
      Rabbit said | March 17th 2017 @ 5:42am | ! Report

      What can you do they get payed to entertain but it does cheaping the legendary player and Moylan is a myth he is the Mitchell Pearce of fullbacks good but will never have the step up in class just a great club player

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 11:06am
        Epiquin said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        Yep. The difference when Tedesco replaced him at 1 for the Blues was very noticeable. Teddy’s kick returns put us in a much better field position and we won the game.

    • Roar Guru

      March 17th 2017 @ 6:14am
      The Barry said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      Sometimes a player does something that reminds you of a great player.

      Mitchell can look Inglis-esque at times. Brooks’ debut against the Dragons he looked all the world like Joey incarnate – even down to the large backside. It’s not saying that they’re as good, will have the same career or will replace them.

      Having said that I agree that the commentators overdo it. It’s almost like a verbal shorthand. Rather than describe the play as it is it’s easier to just say “that looks like Inglis”.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 11:07am
        Epiquin said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        Agreed. David Klemmer reminds me a lot of a young Mark Geyer, but there’s a difference between saying “He plays a lot like Mark Geyer.” and saying “He’s the next Mark Geyer.”

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:11am
      Sammy said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      Stating that a player reminds you of a former great is not so bad – but to make the bold prediction that the rookie will follow in the footsteps of the former great is just stupidity.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:25am
        andrew said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Exactly. You can say a young player reminds you of a young legend and If Latrell Mitchell doesn’t remind you of Inglis then I pity you because you can’t remember a young GI.

        Now you can complain about the frequency of it, but it isn’t Gary Belcher’s fault if Phil Gould made the same analogy last week and Braith Anasta the week before and Andrew Johns the week before that. He isn’t required to sit and take notes on every anacdote made by every commentator. If Ray Warren says the same thing every week (and he does), then sure, that can be annoying.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:51am
      Silvertail47 said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      DCE a halfback , now that’s outrageous

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 8:18am
        Magnus M. Østergaard said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

        He might even be inured for this weekend! Hes basically Mullen at this point aye!

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:36am
        Silvertail47 said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        Vincent are you referring to DCE ? , if so info please ,haven’t heard anything , did you watch Fox last night ? All the lads were shocked at his attitude , things are rock bottom on the Peninsula, I think the thought of a spoon may just spark some movement, the last side we beat Newcastle are looking better than 2016 , we however look worse

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 9:23am
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          Argh! I must have dreamed it, I swear I saw it this morning on nrl.com that he may be in doubt.

          Have to agree, although it wont come down to just his contract. The Trb boys will have to keep firing. Those 3 take up 30% of the salary cap from next year on.

          I like the look of Cleary tho, he seems to be a pretty good mover and shaker.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:26am
            andrew said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            There is speculation DCE is in doubt because Hastings is listed as 18th man.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:58am
          Silvertail47 said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          Turbos got a lot to learn , a fullback must NEVER stay a marker after making a tackle , junior footy stuff , his defence , his read of the line is woeful,can score a try though, would make an awesome winger

      • March 18th 2017 @ 2:09am
        Silvertail47 said | March 18th 2017 @ 2:09am | ! Report

        Danielle,what part of your rant is relevant to my views of Turbos defensive reads and positioning? None it’s self explanatory,your agenda isn’t Rugby League ,you’ve been outed

        • March 18th 2017 @ 2:15am
          Danielle said | March 18th 2017 @ 2:15am | ! Report

          You sound awfully like SSTID.

      • March 18th 2017 @ 2:20am
        Silvertail47 said | March 18th 2017 @ 2:20am | ! Report

        Can you answer my footy related post or are you only good at getting personal, your motives are clear and I’m highlighting this for all to draw there own opinion ,is turbo out of position staying at marker

      • March 18th 2017 @ 2:36am
        Silvertail47 said | March 18th 2017 @ 2:36am | ! Report

        Again dustby how does your rant relate to my post ,views of turbos positioning , I’m loving this because your given Ng me the ammunition I need to show the moderators exactly your motives and those of Danielle you can’t challenge my views so you attack me personally, keep it up

    • March 17th 2017 @ 8:34am
      Steve said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      I know it’s another sport but how good is it when right arm 6ft plus 135k bowler comes on the scene he’s always the next Glenn McGrath.

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

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