Players left in limbo as Crusaders fold


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    Former Great Britain centre Keith Senior has revealed his fury at the decision of his future club Crusaders to pull out of Super League.

    The 35-year-old had signed a two-year contract with the Welsh outfit after 12 years with Leeds Rhinos.

    The veteran, whose current season has been ended by a knee injury, now faces an uncertain future after it was announced on Tuesday the Welsh club had withdrawn their Super League licence application.

    Senior tweeted: “Crusaders have just f***** me over what a b*****d joke, excuse my language I’m absolutely furious.”

    Senior’s outburst reflects the surprise with which the announcement by the RFL has taken the whole sport.

    Wrexham-based Crusaders have had a difficult three years in Super League but were widely expected to be retained in the competition at the expense of Wakefield.

    The RFL say they were informed only last night of Crusaders’ withdrawal, just before they themselves were to decide which 13 clubs would join Widnes in the 14-team top division for 2012-14.

    As well as signing Senior, Crusaders had also tied Wales rugby union legend Gareth Thomas to a new contract with South Sydney backrowe Shannan McPherson also left in limbo after agreeing to move to the club for next season.

    Crusaders chief executive Rod Findlay said: “This has not been an easy decision but after a lengthy and exhaustive examination of the club’s finances, our view is that Crusaders is not sustainable as a Super League club at this stage.”

    The development will also raise question marks over the futures of other notable players such as Michael Witt and former Penrith playmaker Jarrod Sammut, as well as coach Iestyn Harris.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (63)

    • July 27th 2011 @ 5:28am
      CizzyRascal said | July 27th 2011 @ 5:28am | ! Report

      They’ve gone about this business very badly.

      It’s the right choice though as the club would have folded had it stayed in the Super League. They were pushed in too early. They need time to grow organically and actually produce their own players from their own area.

    • July 27th 2011 @ 6:00am
      oikee said | July 27th 2011 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      Yes, they tried to run before they could even walk, and signing 35-37 year old has-beens is no way for a club to be looking to move forward. The only half decent signing was Mcpherson, and he will be picked up by another club.
      As for Senior and Thomas, come-on, time to let it go lads. Your holding up future talent.
      Wales should only have teams in the co-op comp. Like i said, crawl before you walk. And the Harlequins need to sort themselves out, get rid of the union name and grow the sport as the London Broncos again.
      The super league should be concentrating on getting another French team into the comp. Its hard to be a force if your only relying on one team in France, its plain stupid and just plain dumb, but why am i not surprised. 🙂

      Glad Wakefield did not get dumped, throwing out a heartland club to prop up a team of old semi retired players is another senseless act ‘which’ thank goodness did not happen, let this be a lesson for super league. Grow the game yes, but not at the expense of your true supporters.

      • July 27th 2011 @ 8:46am
        Adrien2166 said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Toulouse is preparing an application to get a superleague license for 2015, they already have a lot of sponsors, the stadium will be extended to 12k seats. It’s a big and rich city,with a rugby culture, looks like a good option.

        • July 27th 2011 @ 8:52am
          Adrien2166 said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          Try to set up a superleague team in Wales was not really the most clever idea ever, however i’ve heard the RFL is looking to expand the game in Dublin in a few years, let’s see if it gets more success. Anyway, the first step is to give another french team a license, Catalans have proven to be a great success, Toulouse could be even bigger. All I hope is that they won’t give another north-england based club a license in the next years.

          • July 27th 2011 @ 1:15pm
            Bakkies said | July 27th 2011 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            Dublin would be a disaster. League doesn’t really exist in Ireland and there isn’t much money in running small working class teams in that country. Plus they would be living in the shadow of the Leinster Rugby machine.

            Toulouse has a culture in real Rugby don’t know about league. They will be competing with a soccer club too not just the 28 million euro annual budgeted Stade Toulousain rugby.

            • July 27th 2011 @ 3:19pm
              King of the Gorgonites said | July 27th 2011 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

              Agree. Ireland is fairy land stuff. Wales has a long tradition with Rugby league, but sitll a professional club could not work. why would a (bankrupt) country with no history of rugby league work?

              • July 27th 2011 @ 3:53pm
                Bakkies said | July 27th 2011 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

                It took Leinster Rugby over a hundred to grow in to what it is now. It has a strong club and schools base to develop players. League doesn’t have that.

    • July 27th 2011 @ 8:54am
      King of the Gorgonites said | July 27th 2011 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      I dont want to be the guy to say i told you so, but i will any way. i said at the time it was a mistake to take the Crusaders out of South Wales. Wrexham was a mistake. simple as that. South Wales is the sporting hub of the country. yes there was a lot of competition from rugby and soccer, but they had to stick at it. running away to within a stones throw of rugby league heartland was conceding defeat.

      IMO Toulouse is a must. I have been back and forth with Toulouse and Paris, however , i think Toulouse is the option. Why? Toulouse is a rugby hot bed. contrary to what some people think, rugby folk in france do not hate RL (and they are not all Vichy Facists!). they will watch RL. they wont stop watching RU, but they will give RL a go. rugby people in france would much prefer RL then that round ball game. time for some vision from the peopel that run super league.

      • Roar Guru

        July 27th 2011 @ 9:37am
        M1tch said | July 27th 2011 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Agree, Wrexham never fitted well and was never a true Welsh team, I wonder though what this means for RL in Wales, I’d assume Thomas will head back to RU.
        Toulouse without a doubt must come in, I hope though they do have the money behind them.
        It would be a great french derby when they face Catalans

        • July 27th 2011 @ 10:23am
          King of the Gorgonites said | July 27th 2011 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          for mind the crusaders had to be in Cardiff. its the heart and soul of Wales. its also by far the biggest population base. there is the new cardiff city stadium, and then there is always M stadium for bigger matches. i cant for the life of me work out why it wasnt based in cardiff.

          as for Thomas its a sad possible end for a great guy and great welshman. hopefully we see him run around for another super league club or re-join one of the welsh rugby provinces for a nother year or two. alfie’s experience is really needed at some of those rugby clubs at present.

          I was lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time in Toulouse when i was involved with Aerobus. It is truly a cosmopolitian city. its the 4th largest french city. rugby is a religion there, however, one could say that sport is their religion its just that rugby is there favoured demonination. other sports get well supported. they are like Australians in that regard.

          i’ll admit there are some towns in france that are very anti-rugby league. however, Toulouse is a city and is not that way inclined.

          Toulouse already has a strong RL presence. there is large and small stadia (the rugby use the bigger stadium for the big matches – holds abotu 35K). but we must’nt get ahead of ourselves. rugby league needs to be devloped further in france and in that region. its a real shame france msised out on the 4 nations to wales. it would have been a great opportuinty to takes games to toulouse to build the code there. small steps need to be taken with french rugby league, but its a lot better hope then welsh rugby league.

      • July 27th 2011 @ 3:51pm
        Bakkies said | July 27th 2011 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

        They probably did it thinking that they would get more away support at games in Wrexham which would boost attendances. There is no pro Rugby side up in North Wales.

    • July 27th 2011 @ 11:02am
      Ian Whitchurch said | July 27th 2011 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      The NRL clubs are the most healthy part of rugby league, and inclined to act in their own interest, so we just accept that and move on.

      Each NRL gets given a country as it’s own special development zone – for example, South Sydney gets France. St George gets Wales. Melbourne gets PNG. Brisbane gets Tonga, and so forth (I dont care who gets what btw).

      Any player signed from your zone to your club has the first $50 000 of their salary not counted against the cap. Any documented expenses spent on coaching and development assistance given gets an increase in their “soft cap”, to a reasonable limit of, say, $250 000 a year. This would include helping their national side tour, bringing out their promising juniors for coaching clinics, preseason training or whatever.

      Each club has to report annually on what they’ve done for “their” country, and on the results of this.

      Any player playing in any International during the regular season counts for a 3% credit of their salary against the next years salary cap, representing their time at camp an so on. Any player playing in any International not during the regular season counts for a 1% credit of their salary against the next years salary cap, representing exhaustion from off season tours.

      Any player that is injured when on representative duty has their salary while they are injured credited against the next years cap room (“broken time” for clubs, in effect).

      • July 27th 2011 @ 4:02pm
        oikee said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        I like this, it is to forward thinking at the moment, give the NRL 20 years to catch up to your thinking Ian, we are dealing with neandethales and dinosaurs at the moment.

    • July 27th 2011 @ 11:06am
      hotdog said | July 27th 2011 @ 11:06am | ! Report

      Yeah, no suprise really. And how long before london harlequins goes the same way? If its not working after 30 years of trying and god only know how much $, how much longer before they realise its never going to work in london? Why wouldn’t you give a real club like halifax one of the SL spots instead?

    • July 27th 2011 @ 12:57pm
      Jaceman said | July 27th 2011 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

      Will the ESL Millenium stadium weekend round still go ahead? As for Dublin (mentioned above), the Irish economy couldnt stand another competitor to Rugby, football, Hurling and Gaelic football…

      • July 27th 2011 @ 4:08pm
        oikee said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

        Any businessman knows when to strike a weak market, when its on their knees and going backwards. I would hit Ireland for all its worth, why not, what is Ireland on a world map, a patato farm and immgration deport.
        Lets be honest, Australian rugby league is lightyears ahead of this rabble.

        • July 27th 2011 @ 4:12pm
          King of the Gorgonites said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

          already into the coldies Oikee?

          • July 27th 2011 @ 4:20pm
            oikee said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

            If rugby league had the money we would build in Ireland, is all i said. Coldies or not, it makes sense.
            Pat Richards is the best Ireland player i have seen, and he had NRL tutoridge.

            • July 27th 2011 @ 4:32pm
              Bakkies said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

              Born and raised in the western suburbs of Sydney?

            • July 27th 2011 @ 5:05pm
              King of the Gorgonites said | July 27th 2011 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

              You really lose me some times Oikee.

              Money alone doesnt allow a code to enter into a country.

              are you serioes about Pat Richards?

              I once had a pint of Guiness at PJ Gallagers (Parramatta). do you think that qualifies me as irish enough to make their RL national side?

          • July 28th 2011 @ 4:50pm
            Crosscoder said | July 28th 2011 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

            I tell you what KOGS I am consuming as an appetiser pre dinner ,a Sapporo 650ml can,and I am almost into Oikee speak.Thats is Japaneseeee.
            Watch out !
            Seriously this wil not change the development of rl in Wales.The Welsh RL is an independent body ,,there are 45 teams,158 school teams and 7,000 pa play the game.they have to walk before they an run,and nth Wales was never going to be a goer.

            • July 28th 2011 @ 4:57pm
              King of the Gorgonites said | July 28th 2011 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

              agreed. South Wales is the way forward. cardiff specifically would be the best bet.

              But before Wales, they need to looks at France. a lot more opportuinty there.

        • July 27th 2011 @ 4:18pm
          Bakkies said | July 27th 2011 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          Ireland is not a weak sporting market. Rugby is getting great crowds in the current recession. Irish Soccer is going backwards but most of the Dubs are plastic Manure or Liverpool supporters. GAA is played in the summer months and is a cultural thing as well.

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