Genia makes the right decision, eventually

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Will Genia training with the Queensland Reds AAP Image/Dan Peled

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    Will Genia’s decision to stay in Queensland is the best possible news for the future of the Wallabies.

    With all due respect to the Force, that can’t take a trick these days, Genia will play much better rugby with the Reds and their better players than he would in the west.

    And that means he’ll be a better Wallaby, already rated the best half-back in the world. Although that hasn’t been the case this season until last Friday night against the Blues at Eden Park, when the real Genia resurfaced.

    It’s more than possible Genia was out of sorts before Eden Park trying to sort out his future behind closed doors.

    “Regardless of whatever anyone’s thinking, and the judgements that have been made, I’m happy and that’s all that is important,” was how Genia reacted after signing a new three-year contract with the Reds yesterday, at a reported $200,000 a season less than the Force offer.

    And he’s quite right. Genia being happy is of prime importance.

    But did it need such a dramatic u-turn from Reds to Force and back to Reds in just a couple of days? Genia is a far better bloke than he’s been painted in this affair.

    So who was playing “ducks and drakes” with the media on Genia’s behalf?

    We’ll probably never know, but whatever the reason the right decision was the nett result.

    What we do know is Genia told his coach Ewen McKenzie after Eden Park he was off to Perth, Reds CEO Jim Carmichael told a media conference Genia was Perth-bound wishing him well, rugby legend Tim Horan Twittered Genia was heading west, and Force chief exec Vern Reid said nothing was signed.

    In the wash-up only Reid was accurate.

    The big loser is the Force, still struggling to consistently compete in an elite tournament.

    With Genia out of the frame, the Force will have trouble retaining the services of their skipper and world-class open-side flanker David Pocock, a future Wallaby captain.

    If Pocock goes, allegedly back to Queensland where he first made an impression as a Churchie schoolboy playing inside-centre, would you believe, to Quade Cooper, and as an Australian Schoolboy international, the Force will be between a rock and a hard place.

    The first big problem attracting quality players is distance, with a minimum five hours flying time to do battle with the rest of the Australian Conference. That becomes debilitating sooner than later.

    Sure the Force is closer to South Africa, but even further away from New Zealand. This downside cannot be underestimated.

    So it’s imperative the Force retain Pocock, at any price, otherwise experienced Stormer fly-half-goal-kicker Peter Grant won’t make Perth his home for three years, and warhorse lock Nathan Sharpe, playing some of the best rugby of his long career, won’t reconsider retirement at the end of the season.

    No Pocock, no Genia, no Grant, no Sharpe, and now obviously no Cooper won’t be an appealing prospect to prospective Force coaches to replace the sacked Richard Graham like Australian Michael Cheika, successful Leinster coach and currently head-coach at Stade Francais, or former South African and Italian coach Nick Mallett.

    What a mess.

    It’s a rock and a hard place alright and time for the ARU to step in with salary cap dispensations to sign genuine overseas talent to allow the Force to breathe. The same can be said for the Rebels. Good players turn journeymen into good players by instilling a winning culture.

    It’s doing Australian rugby no good to have two of five teams struggling near the bottom of the Super Rugby table showing little sign of improving. A losing culture is a fast trip to nowhere.

    Both the Force and the Rebels must not be left to wither on the vine.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (82)

    • May 1st 2012 @ 7:32am
      Shungmao said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Lads, do anyone know if the marquee players rule will sit in the cap or be additional?

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 8:06am
      formeropenside said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Pocock had his chance to come back to Queensland when David Croft retired a few seasons back. I can’t see us wanting him back now; at least, not when you have a limited squad and a salary cap. Liam Gill is the Reds future at 7.

      At this point the Reds have to focus on keeping Cooper and Higginbotham – and getting PAE to come back home and get Guy Shepherdson’s contract.

      On the other hand, Pocock would be a perfect fit at the Rebels, adding a little starch to the forward pack.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 8:15am
        Justin said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        Reds couldnt afford Pocock and dont need him either…

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:32am
        Harry said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        As you say, be good to get PAE back, he’s injured currently at the Rebels. I hope we can retain all our current players. Hopefully McDuling and Envers are fit next year to boost the back 5 forward stocks, and Curtis Browning may well be ready.

        In the backs good to see Matt Lucas playing well for the 7’s side, and Shannon Walker is another possibility.

        Something I’m not looking forward to … We can expect a an enourmous saga, drama and BS over Quade;s future sometime soon. Surprised Khoder didn’t try and buy into the Genia saga. I see Margie Mac in The Aus is already talking up a bid from The Force, though I expect it’ll be the Rebels from Australian rugby that’ll provide the biggest comp. And we’ll no doubt have leaguies from far and wide having a go – led by the Roosters.

    • Columnist

      May 1st 2012 @ 8:23am
      Brett McKay said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      Lordy, I do agree that Genia will probably play better rugby with the Reds, certainly next year at least, and yes, that is the better outcome for the Wallabies.

      But for Australian rugby overall – and you allude to this in your last couple of paragraphs there – the best outcome would have been if he confirmed his deal with the Western Force. Queensland would’ve found another scrumhalf, but the Force won’t “just” find another Wallaby-quality player to build a backline around. Genia sigining with the Force would’ve made securing a top-class coach and no.10 so much easier, and would just about have guaranteed Pocock’s signature too. Now it’s all up in the air.

      The Reds might’ve got their man, and I don’t begrudge Genia changing his mind, but Australian rugby is the big loser in this episode..

      • May 1st 2012 @ 8:51am
        Harry said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:51am | ! Report

        Completely disagree. The Reds invested in Genia, nurtured and trained him. Its for Queensland that he plays his best provincial rugby. Genia knew that.

        What makes you so sure the Force would have automatically got a quality 10? For starters, there wouldn’t have been much money. And the history of how “star” players have gone over there and then left again isn’t exactly reassuring.

        Anyway how did you feel when Giteau went from the Brumbies to the Force Brett? At the time?

        • Columnist

          May 1st 2012 @ 9:19am
          Brett McKay said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Harry, having a decent 9 providing service is going to be the first thing a flyhalf looks at, surely you know that. I didn’t say the Force would’ve automatically got anyone, I said it would make it easier. And it would. if Peter Grant is thinking of joining the Force – and I don’t know if he is or not – do you honestly not think Genia would be a bigger drawcard for him than Jusin Turner or Josh Holmes (I believe Sheehan has already said he’s going)??

          And player movement doesn’t concern me at all. I didn’t begrudge Giteau making the same move all those years ago (probably for the same reason) then, and I didn’t last year when he left for France. These guys have to look after themselves however they see fit.

          I understand why people do get upset though, and I know what you mean. Perhaps I can see the bigger picture easier than some.

          And speaking of seeing the bigger picture, I expected nothing less from you FOS (below)….

          • May 1st 2012 @ 9:55am
            Harry said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report

            See I really believe Brett that this is one area where we get it wrong in Australian rugby. I think this hopping between the state teams (OK franchises if you must) is very counter productive. Expecting Genia to go to the Force and automatically start playing like he did for Queensland on Friday night aint going to happen.

            Combinations take time to build. Genia and Cooper took a couple of seasons to build up to the level they achieved last year. Cooper and Faingaa were strong for Qld in 2010 because they had spent the previous year playing at 10 and 12 for Souths in club rugby.

            At the Brumbies, you are beginning to see a good combinations emerging with White and Leolifano, and Mogg, Speight and Tomane in the back 3.

            My point is these have been achieved in a relatively hype free zone without the burden of “stars”.

            As even bison ended up agreeing with last night, what would be best for the Force is if they targeted some young promising players and letting them develop a combination, rahte than going for the “star” and thus buggering up two teams.

            And I completely agree with FOS in that having at least one very strong super side – preferably a winner – is completely necessary if Australia is to be strong internationally. Australia won the tri-nations in 2001 and 2011 – and guess what, they were the same years an Australian team won the Super Rugby championship. Clearly I prefer if that sides Queensland, as we have the depth and critical mass (30,000 members).

            • Columnist

              May 1st 2012 @ 10:06am
              Brett McKay said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:06am | ! Report

              Harry, this is where we arrive at the same point from different directions. In short, I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said there. I certanly agree that combinations take time, and again, I didn’t actually say that I expected Genia to play the same way for the Force.

              And yes, the Force would be better served by starting with some younger players and building up, as they’ve done with their scrum, to be fair.

              That said, there’s obvious short term finiancial gain to be had by landing a proper big name like Genia.

            • Roar Pro

              May 1st 2012 @ 10:12am
              sittingbison said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:12am | ! Report

              hey steady on harry. whats the “even” bison bit. I have always maintained this is what the Force should be doing, and along with most of the membership are increasingly disgruntled at RugbyWAs ineptitude in promoting the game. And unlike some I dont have built in hatreds and disdain for other teams and states, call it like I see it on game night good bad and indifferent for both sides, but focusing on the Force as thats my team.

              That’s why I don’t appreciate totally disparaging one line comments to genuine observations %) (or in the case of lippy purposely missing the point to advance his own agenda). These are unfortunate because they hide what are usually insightful and informed comment.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 10:52am
                Harry said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:52am | ! Report

                OK points we agree on:
                1) The adminstrators aren’t doing enough to promote rugby at the grass roots level in WA. While progress has been made (and I understand WA turn out a pretty good schoolboy side these days) far more needs to be done.
                2) The Force are better off recruiting and developing a batch of promising young players and building combinations than recruiting star or “marquee” players (though IMO the FOrce have just had plain bad luck on this front with injuries to the Saffa 10 a few years back and the Fijian guy you’ve got this year).

                Where I do think it is good is when the Force take players straight from eastern states schools (Pocock, JOC, Jones) and they develop them. This is bound to be hit and miss but IMO some sort of special incentive should be given to the Force to allow/encourage this.

                Can I just add that as a neutral I found the JOC to the Rebels saga last year pretty depressing, Force supporters deserve better.

              • Roar Pro

                May 1st 2012 @ 11:24am
                sittingbison said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                Lets not forget “Fagan” Ripia haha.

                Nice summation harry. In fact when I was driving into work mind in neutral I was thinking that RugbyWA should have got in cahoots with the public schools (seven I think) and catholic schools, popped in some professional coaches, and paid for a couple of sporting scholarships at each school, including eastern states kids, saffas, kiwis and islanders. This runs in conjunction with assisting in the running of the local competiton, especially junior participation and development.

                I know we need to break down the “public school” image of the game in Aus, but in WA that is the best short term nursery.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 11:54am
                Harry said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:54am | ! Report

                Ripia … gawd. A disaster.

                The import who gave the Force best value was David Hill.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 12:13pm
                Wilson said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                Sorry Sittingbison I ahve to reply to your comment as it won’t let me reply to Harry.

                In reply to your points:

                1) There is $4million dollars given to the rugby states by the ARU for Community investment. WA has just been allocated $250k as their share. If you want WA to have the same development at the club level as QLD & NSW then the money needs to be divided equally.

                2) Marquee players for the Force have a curse on them. Pretorious never played 1 mionute. Naps this year has been injury prone and yet to show any flare worth mentioning.

                They will always have a list of young players who may or may not develop as you said. They will always need a combination of youht and experienced players. And with the rules of the competition the vast majority have to come from the Australian teams. This is a fact and players will move for money and opportunity. The Force is no different in this quality. I’m sure the Firce would love to have some support from the ARU to help build rugby stocks and accademy in WA. But that is yet to happen. At least when the Rebels came about they have learnt from their mistakes and allowed them to have more internationals. The Force start up would have been far different if given the same options.

                JOC was a great player but one of the worst club men to ever enter a club. He is also bringing the same rockstar attitude to the Rebels and the majority of his team mates I hear are not fans of the Brand. The Force did the right thing to withdraw their offer to him and let him be the Rebels issue.

              • Roar Pro

                May 1st 2012 @ 12:14pm
                sittingbison said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

                and he was an emergency signing because Pretorius got injured before the season started.

                David Smith turned out ok after a shaky start, but left just when he found his feet so to speak. Which indicates one year contracts for a “marquee” are ludicrous.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 1:21pm
                sheek said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:21pm | ! Report


                I agree about JOC. Great individual player, but poor team man.

                And at the end of the day, rugby is a team game.

                Give me a team man any day ahead of the ‘rock star’…..

              • May 1st 2012 @ 3:16pm
                PeterK said | May 1st 2012 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

                wilson – agree totally

              • May 1st 2012 @ 5:21pm
                Nathan of Perth said | May 1st 2012 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

                “Nice summation harry. In fact when I was driving into work mind in neutral I was thinking that RugbyWA should have got in cahoots with the public schools (seven I think) and catholic schools, popped in some professional coaches, and paid for a couple of sporting scholarships at each school, including eastern states kids, saffas, kiwis and islanders”

                They’re NOT!??!

                I’ve seen those kids, they’re pretty keen and intent on going places, the AFL have gotten a number of kids out of their programs in the PSA schools, cannot imagine why they’re not trying to capitalise on the resources those schools would have around.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 11:42am
            rl said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            I’m with you Brett – while it’s nice to see players stay with your team, and form a deep connection with the local fan base, most of these guys have a very small window of opportunity to capitalise on their success. Injury or loss of form and the contracts rapidly diminish or dry up altogether. I don’t begrudge them either.

            As you said yesterday, how is it different to people changing companies, or seeking new challenges?

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:11am
        formeropenside said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        No, the Force are the big loser. The Force’s contribution to “Australian Rugby” is slim to none after 6 years and counting.

        When Queensland are strong, Australia is strong. Anything that weakens Queensland is bad for Australian rugby.

        • May 1st 2012 @ 9:37am
          sheek said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          So Fossie – we should ignore the big picture & fold up the Force & leave the west to AFL, soccer & a resurgent Western Reds rugby league team…..???

          That’s positive, long-term thinking….. NOT…..!

          And if I’m not mistaken, for about 70 years before the 1970s, it was when NSW was strong, Australia is strong. And from about 1996-2005 it was when the Brumbies are strong, Australia is strong.

          You’re playing loose with the historical truth a little, my friend…..

          • May 1st 2012 @ 10:10am
            formeropenside said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:10am | ! Report

            Qld were also pretty good 1996-2002.

            I’m not so sure about the period up until 1970, myself.

            • May 1st 2012 @ 12:01pm
              soapit said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

              played a total of two semi’s from memory.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 1:26pm
                Justin said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

                You dont think thats pretty good?

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 9:31am
                Bakkies said | May 2nd 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

                Considering the wealth of talent they had no. Fair better than their current squad.


                and did not make a Final with players of that calibre.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 9:55am
                soapit said | May 2nd 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report

                in a six year period no.

                4 final spots from twelve teams gives a one in three chance of making a semi. 2 semis a year for 6 years is 12 total. making only two is one in 6 so not particularly great.

                though they finished top at least one of those so the semi stats may not be reflective. certainly werent particularly strong overall for that 6 year period though.

        • May 1st 2012 @ 12:23pm
          PeterK said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

          fos – in that case we should give qld first pick of 30 players in australia, let the aru pay them, qld pay min payments.

          The other teams can fold or just be a development area for qld.

          In fact I believe australian rugby has been strong when there has been a minimum of 2 strong provincial sides, it doesnt matter which 2.

          Last year qld were strong, the best super rugby performance ever, yet the wallabies were still weak. AB’s far better than the wallabies. Samoa and Ireland beat the Wallabies, and they would of lost to the boks under probably any other ref.

          In 91 there were 2 strong rpovinces. In 99 there were no weak provinces.

          The main issue currently the aussies only have player depth for 3 strong teams.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 2:18pm
            formeropenside said | May 1st 2012 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

            As long as Qld get first pick of 30 players in Qld, thats enough.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:32am
        sheek said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Brett – your last para above (“The Reds… this episode”) is spot on, & might well be a centre-piece of my next post to The Roar.

        There are far too many players, coaches & officials in Australian rugby running around today more interested in their personal welfare, & totally ignorant, intentionally, of the big picture.

        • Columnist

          May 1st 2012 @ 9:35am
          Brett McKay said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          as long as you use it the right context Sheek!

          Again, I don’t blame Genia for staying put, and I certainly wouldn’t have blamed him for heading west. But it’s not Genia’s job to develop and broaden Australian rugby. His job is purely and simply to pass the ball from the base of scrums and rucks…

          • May 1st 2012 @ 9:41am
            sheek said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report


            It’s a great para, although Genia himself won’t be the real focus of my article. But I might have something to say about another person whose initial starts with G. And maybe also W & E (among others)…..

          • May 1st 2012 @ 9:55am
            sheek said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report


            “But it’s not Genia’s job to develop and broaden Australian rugby”. Essentially, you are spot-on correct.

            And if David Pocock agrees with the sentiment of the above premise, then he won’t be with the Force in 2013…..


            I have another belief that EVERY single Wallaby, provincial, super rugby player & respective coach, official & administrator has a DUTY to play their part in developing & broadening Australian rugby.

            It’s starts with how you play the game, to how you coach the players to play, to how you seek to increase interest & participation.

            You & I & everyone knows that it is not happening…..

      • May 1st 2012 @ 12:02pm
        Wilson said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        I agree Brett.

        I am disappointed that he verbally agreed to the deal and was lined up to sign the contract before the QLD power play came into effect. The Wallabies are strongests when there are 5 well performing Australian teams. The Force need some strong players and quickly. I don’t see Sharpe playing next year under any circumstances. And if Pocock leaves then there are very few names to build the team around. 5 strong teams must be the priority for the ARU for the betterment of the Wallabies as a whole. It must be hard to draw big names to the Force given their location, lack of ARU and media support, no coahc and Pocock still a maybe. Tough situation in the West.

        • May 1st 2012 @ 1:37pm
          Sam Taulelei said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

          “The Wallabies are strongests when there are 5 well performing Australian teams”????

          2011 was the first time Australia had 5 teams participating in Super rugby and they won two world cups prior to 2000. It will be a long wait before there are 5 well performing Australian teams, SA and NZ haven’t achieved that feat either.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 6:01pm
            Blue Blood said | May 1st 2012 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

            Sam I think Wilson is suggesting that moving forward that it is better for there to be 5 competitive teams. It will allow greater depth for the Wallabies to draw from and more opportunities to give players super experience. I agree with Wilson. No point having one Super team with no stars . How would that benefit Australian rugby?

    • May 1st 2012 @ 8:42am
      JM said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Good Morning,

      12 months ago the Reds were the hope and future of Australian rugby.

      Recently they have shown what a shambolic state the game is in, in this country.

      Egotistical, mercanary individuals from top to bottom.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:26am
        rl said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Over-reaction much?

        Let’s get a little perspective here:
        – a 23 year old professional sportsman (which by today’s standards means he probably has the emotional intelligence of a 12 year old) has to briefly stop focussing on twitter and make a pretty grown-up decision about his future
        – he is barraged with endless “advice” from all angles
        – he is up against people with many years experience negotiating contracts in the business, entertainment and sports worlds
        – he is clearly confused and overwhelmed by the situation, including recently swapping managers during the negotiations
        – he thinks he has settled on a decision, but then he’s out for a night with his team mates and they get on him to change his mind (come on maaaate!!! Or is it “bro” these days?)

        No offence to Genia BTW – at 23 I couldn’t be relied upon to even boil a kettle. Let’s face it – this is not the first (or last) mistake resulting from a fateful decision made at the Caxton Hotel at 1am on a Sunday morning! (this blogger included)

        Anyway, end result is he pretty much stuffs it up. Some feelings are a bit bruised, but no one died people! (although some of the emotive blogging would make you think there had been a contagion). Rather than this being seen as the downfall of Australian rugby itself, I think this should be seen for what it is – a 23 year old stuffing up a contract negotiation. If he’s smart, he won’t allow himself to get worked over next time… and his manager’s next gig should be at Nightowl!

    • May 1st 2012 @ 8:45am
      sittingbison said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      Nice summation Brett.

      David, Genias form has been so atrocious that many on this forum have rightly stated he (with other incumbents) should not be selected for Wallabies. Will he be better next year playing for Reds? He wanted to leave for a reason, probably money, and prior to the shock announcement it was to Force (laughably the figures went from $400 to $500 then not to be outdone to $600k), all the speculation was Japan or Europe.

      If this is all true, then no, after the emotional roller coaster of “I want to play wid me mates” is over he will not be a contented happy camper playing for $200k less per season. No way on earth.

      OR….The Reds have found a way to bung him another couple of hundred thou, after all they are self admitted fiscall geniases (hehe)

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:36am
        nickoldschool said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Agree with you, SB. Genia, like everyone else, is no philantropist and I doubt he has accepted a huge pay cut to ‘play rugby with his mates. (or the whole 2-day saga wouldnt have happened in the first place).

        Regarding australian rugby, I actually think we need 5 evenly competitive franchises and a move to the Force would have been great for both the wallabies and the Force. Thats where like a few others, i disagree with David. These kind of senior players would have helped develop younger ones at the Force. We always talk about australian rugby lacking depth when compared to SA or NZ. It starts there: having top players all across the board.

        I actually think that signing Genia would have been more beneficial than retaining Pocock for the Force: they have 4 wallabies in the back row (McCalman, Hodgson, Brown and Pocock) and although it would be ideal to keep all of them, reality is balance within the team is more important. Just sayin!

      • May 1st 2012 @ 11:51am
        peterlala said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        sittingbison, that’s true, $200,000 is a lot of money. And though Will Genia’s form has been poor, he is a great player, and a great leader.

        It’s bad news for the Force. No players. No prospects. They need Genia.

    • Roar Guru

      May 1st 2012 @ 9:35am
      Kane said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

      “It’s more than possible Genia was out of sorts before Eden Park trying to sort out his future behind closed doors.”

      I refuse to believe that a player of his caliber, one of the better Wallabies, can not put his contract negotiations out of his mind for 80min.

      However if this is the case then I believe he is not mentally strong enough and he’s not worth half of the reported 600k he’s been signed for.

      If anything his contract negotiations should be an opportunity to play better to try and get more money.

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