I completely disagree he was ‘ineffective’ and at age 28 when he left for Stade, ‘past it’.
He was doing his job well enough to hold on to his test position for the opening Lions test before he was injured. And oddly enough I don’t remember any sort of suggestions that he shouldn’t remain an incumbent wing heading in to the Wallabies most important test series in 12 years.
I don’t think the so called exodus is going to have a significant impact on our MD23 necessarily. There will be a negative impact here but it will be felt far more on the wider Australian rugby landscape.
We obviously want the best players available for national selection and we’ll have this for the most part. But we also want those fringe players keeping the guys above them on the pecking order on their toes. That squad depth is also particularly important when injuries strike.
Those fringe players also have a very important role in their respective Super Rugby teams. They might not be test stars, but they’re domestic stars that are valuable on and off field commodities at Super Rugby level.
In the lead up to this world cup, it would have been very handy to have the likes of Digby Ioane, James O’Connor, Drew Mitchell, Sitaleki Timani, Ben Mowen, Berrick Barnes, Matt Giteau and Dan Palmer (before his retirement) within Australian rugby’s ranks both for national selection purposes (for some) and providing talent and experience for Super Rugby teams.
This year and beyond, Sekope Kepu, Scott Higginbotham, Kane Douglas, Will Genia, Nick White, Nick Cummins (hopefully Pat stays in his sport) Hugh Pyle and Kieran Longbottom will be significant losses.
With Izzy, JOC, Quade and Beale all on year long or deals that are running out after the world cup, I’d expect at least 1 (quite probably more) to be on the move as well.
The Socceroos have always allowed soccer to be ‘international’ in this country. This is not some new phenomenon. They’ve packed out stadiums from the MCG to ANZ well before the A League came to fruition. The A League has taken the game to the masses by operating as that strong domestic presence that the Australian sporting public have a clear hunger for.
Clearly we’ll have to agree to disagree on how and why the A League has impacted the code here, but how you can translate a successful domestic competition as being huge boon for the already well developed and defined international landscape is beyond me.
The second line of your article:
“It means that rugby league needs an international focus in order to stay relevant in the modern world of globalised business and sports.”
Correct me if I’m wrong here but you’re suggesting that rugby league needs an international focus to stay ‘relevant’? If the code isn’t relevant then surely it cannot survive?
You go on to make a very clear point about clubs need to remain ‘relevant’ if they are to survive (a point I agree with, although I disagree on the remedy). The no doubt translates to the league itself (not to mention anything where making money is concerned). So if they’re not surviving, then they are...???