On Wednesday, talented young outside back Moses Suli was released by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, the second club to release him in the space of a month.
Both the Bulldogs and his other club, the Wests Tigers, had the same reasons to let him go: laziness.
Suli burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old at Wests Tigers in 2017, signing a contract that was reportedly the largest for a player yet to make his first-grade debut.
He went on to debut for Tonga in the mid-year Pacific Test, before an ankle injury brought his rookie season to an end. In his time out of the game, Suli piled on a stack of weight, with reports in January revealing he had gained 15 kilograms over the off-season.
He was also renowned for showing up late to training, leaving early and even sleeping in his car before arriving. This was enough for the Tigers to release him in early February.
He was quickly snapped up by the Bulldogs, but his problems followed him out to Belmore. The Bulldogs did everything they could to help him, moving him to closer to their training base at Belmore Sports Ground and having senior players, namely former Tigers captain Aaron Woods, mentor him.
This still didn’t help Suli and within three weeks Canterbury were ready to terminate his contract. He begged for one last chance and received it, but showed up late to training once again and was released on Wednesday.
Suli’s story is one that has been heard before. A young player brimming with talent, but lacking in motivation and effort.
Many players have missed out on NRL careers because they were lazy, believing natural talent would be enough for them to make it as a first-grader.
Some of these players have been able to turn it around, such as Latrell Mitchell who was dropped for a month due to a poor attitude in 2017.
He was able to turn it around and get back into the team playing a key role in the Sydney Roosters top two finish.
Some have taken several years to get it right. However, there are plenty of others that have not made it back, disappearing from the NRL forever.
Moses Suli’s double sacking must be a warning for all players, current and future, that they can’t just sit back and rely on talent to make it in the NRL.
The greatest players in the game are also the greatest trainers.
Cameron Smith, Paul Gallen, Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk all put in the hard yards on and off field and have been rewarded with 15+ year careers and massive contracts.
Young players have to follow their example, they have to put the effort in, otherwise they will be nothing more than a footnote in the game’s statistics.