Fact: One of your favourite NRL players will leave your club

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    Jamal Idris is just one of many NRL players on the move this season AAP Image/Action Photographics/Robb Cox

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    Following Braith Anasta’s signing with Wests Tigers for next season, the Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield wrote an opinion piece entitled ‘player transfers undermine the game’.

    It outlined why, after securing the billion dollar TV deal, sorting out a new transfer system was the number one issue for the NRL.

    While it’s never worth getting in a twist over Phil Rothfield’s opinion, since Beau Scott signed with the Knights a few weeks ago just about every league writer in the land has gone in to overdrive on why a transfer system needs to be put in place, generally citing ‘the fans’ as the main reason for creating one.

    Yet just how a transfer system, or a draft, or any form of player movement between clubs will be better than the current system is yet to be explained.

    The argument against the current system is something along the lines of how is a fan supposed to support a team knowing one of its stars is off to a different club next year?

    Jamal Idris is generally held up as the poster boy for this argument.

    How were Canterbury fans supposed to get behind the Doggies when they didn’t retain the services of their cult hero and, worst of all, had to play 20 games knowing this, with Idris announcing his departure just prior to round six?

    While the Bulldogs missed the finals (on points difference only, coming ninth on the ladder) their home games were the second most attended in the entire league, with an average of 19,528 per game meaning only the one-team town of Brisbane had higher gate takings.

    Sure Idris leaving the club was a letdown for Canterbury fans but any true fan knows the club they support is bigger than one player. As a consequence they don’t abandon the game, don’t boo Idris and certainly don’t go out and buy a Titans jersey.

    How would any of this change if a draft or transfer window was implemented?

    Would players cease to move between clubs? Would managers stop looking for the best deal for their clients because they’d rather make less money in exchange for the honour of being a one club player? Would fans never see the players they love leave the club they support except at the end of a glittering career?

    The answer to all these questions is obviously no.

    The game is a business and, as such, players are looking for the best deal they can get. If that means moving to a new club in a different city then that’s what they’re going to do.

    While it’s disappointing watching a player as devastating as Idris swatting away defenders like flies but knowing he’ll be doing it for a different team next season, what’s worse – knowing there are a limited number of opportunities left to see a player you love to watch wearing your team’s colours or not realizing they are going at all because they make the move at season’s end with no prior warning?

    Neither situation is going to make for a happy Bulldogs supporter because, either way, Jamal Idris is leaving their club.

    The June 30 deadline for anti-tampering was scrapped in 2006 for the simple reason it didn’t work.

    Players approaching the end of their current contracts were free to have coffee with whomever they wanted and so too were coaches looking to sign those players. Nothing had to be signed for a deal to be struck.

    As Wayne Bennett said at the time, “if you’ve got a rule you can’t enforce, get rid of it.”

    Perhaps the perfect example of this was Braith Anasta who left the Bulldogs (supporting the Doggies must be tough) after signing with the Roosters on July 13 2005 – just twelve days after the anti-tampering deadline had past but months after talk of him joining the tricolours had started.

    The fact this still occurs today was alluded to in Rothfield’s article, when he said “The Roosters skipper joins a long list of our NRL heroes… to reveal after just four rounds they are headed elsewhere next year. And they are just the ones we know about.”

    So whether a transfer window is implemented, an anti-tampering deadline re-instated or even a draft created, players are still going to leave their clubs in search of greener pastures, deals are going to be made outside of the stated rules and fans are going to be disappointed.

    However, as stated earlier, fans know their club is bigger than one player and for every Braith Anasta who leaves, there’s a James Maloney on the way to pick up the pieces.

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    The Crowd Says (6)

    • March 31st 2012 @ 7:21am
      AndyMack said | March 31st 2012 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      “The game is a business and, as such, players are looking for the best deal they can get. If that means moving to a new club in a different city then that’s what they’re going to do.”

      I love how people against the draft use the argument that players will get drafted to places they dont want to go, but then use the above line to justify player movement outside of a draft system.

      “The answer to all these questions is obviously no.”

      Sorry, but the answer is obviously yes. Have a look at player movement in NRL compared to AFL. It’s a no-brainer.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 11:10am
      oikee said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:10am | ! Report

      This is also working to level out the competition, this is never discussed. If we never had players leaving clubs, the teams would not even out. The way it is as all can see, is good for the game, not bad. Plus not long ago i heard mention they wanted rid of our boy Braith.
      You cant have it both ways, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS,
      Same as the “Torso Rule” you cant have it both ways NRL, it is either a knock on if it comes off a players chest or elbows, or it is not.

      The game has to appoint someone to update our rules. I mentioned 3 years ago this should be the first thing the Commission gets done.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 11:14am
      oikee said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      Oh, p.s, if and when we ever start to listen to that damm fool Rothchild, will be the end of this game.
      He is a dill, Queenslanders dont even know who he is, when he comments in our papers most comments are along the lines, who is this dill. ??

    • March 31st 2012 @ 11:47am
      Blazza said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

      Not for me.
      Cronk,Slater,Smith will stay with Melbourne until they retire. Love them love the team.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 31st 2012 @ 8:56pm
      SpartanSM said | March 31st 2012 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

      Good article, implementing a draft or transfer window won’t stop players jumping ship and joining a new team. The current system has everyone in a state of hysteria crying foul with players like Idris and Taylor (Titans), Maloney (Roosters), Hopoate (Eels), Brown (Penrith) and Scott (Newcastle) all signing with teams a whole year in advance, while under contract with their current teams, although a legal practice the commission should consider a transfer window or a free agency type concept used by numerous sports worldwide.

      The NBA use a 13 day free agency period in the off-season where restricted and un-restricted players enter the free agency period as free agents with un-restricted players free to negotiate with teams as they please and restricted players free to negotiate with other teams; with their current team able to match the offer the other team submits.

    • April 1st 2012 @ 12:57am
      Richard Karaitiana said | April 1st 2012 @ 12:57am | ! Report

      established players will always leave , and its all about money, and always has been, its called a players market, usually players leave
      when their careers are nearing the end, or to cash in while I can, or salary constraint’s, for club loyality its usually a player that has
      came through the club’s players ranks, Melbourne Storm ia a good exsample, also Bellamy has a habit of picking up players that other
      clubs have thrown on the srap heap, a lot of that is personal pride on the players part, and the encouragement and beleif that the coach installs in them, it has a two way effect, it the gives the younger players a catalyst to preform and visa -versa.
      the old saying is you cannot buy a team of champions, you create a team of champions, history proves that.

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