The Roar
The Roar

Tom Rock

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Joined February 2016

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As a full-time pharmacist, part-time Roarer and fair-weather Newcastle Knights fan, Tom doesn’t leave anything on the field. He always gives 110% and never forgets to give full credit to the boys. But in a game of two halves, it’s important not to look too far ahead, so Tom’s just taking it one week at a time. Follow Tom on Twitter @_TomRock_

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I totally agree Barry. There are innumerable factors which lead to an imbalance between the clubs, and most of these aren’t going anywhere soon. Certain clubs will always be in a better position off the field than others, and no amount of NRL mandated rules will change this.

However if the draft could potentially go some way to solving one of these issues – the imbalance of roster talent – is it worth trying?

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

I completely agree. Bad management will ruin even the most talented rosters.

But say you bring in good management who are trying to turn a club around. They can install strong governance and apply rigorous processes to their entire business, but without a good roster the team will keep losing. The club then faces the challenge of luring good players to a club anchored to the bottom of the ladder. Without paying overs and repeating the same horrible cycle, how do these clubs improve?

A draft doesn’t solve all of rugby league’s problems, but it might help this one.

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

The Patriot example could still play out in the NRL.

Imagine a terrible Storm side drafted Cameron Smith and then starting becoming a successful club. As a result, they were always picking at the bottom of the draft. Instead of having the ability to sign the blue chip players, they instead are forced to look for high upside players that fit their system. It’s kind of what they do anyway….

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

The draft won’t fix bad coaching and terrible club management. It will only give clubs the opportunity to sign talented kids on manageable salaries that they otherwise might not have access to.

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

It’s already happening on a regular basis. Clubs pluck young kids from country towns, move them to Sydney and pay for them to attend a local high school while training with their junior squads. The kids stay in group accommodation or with families affiliated with the club until they finish school.

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

I’d argue that the two concepts are one and the same. By capping the ability of a club to spend on playing talent and providing them with an annual grant, the NRL is attempting to ensure clubs remain financially viable and are on an even playing field.

At the same time, the cap also prevents clubs from stockpiling talent like an English Premier League side. If the cap was not in place, teams like the Roosters and Broncos would use their enviable financial situations to sign whoever they wanted. They would just offer more money. It would result in an extreme talent imbalance, and make the lesser clubs even less competitive.

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

I think it’s more about when these boom rookies are identified. They better clubs seems to spot talent much earlier (15-16 years old), bring the right players into their system and then merge them into the first grade squad. The Panthers and Roosters are fantastic at this process.

So by the time the player is 18-19 years old and generating hype around the league, the are already locked away at their club.

A draft would enable the lesser clubs the opportunity to poach this talent without paying overs for it. They don’t necessarily deserve those players, but it would help spread the talent.

Now the drafted players could easily leave to a better club after a few years. However I would hope that the draft would create more competitive teams, which might encourage them to stay abs try to win with the team that drafted them.

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

Something that has shown up in other sports is that teams seldom tank on purpose. Their management and board might want them to tank, and even ask them to lose games to help secure high draft picks. But the coach and players rarely follow this directive. It’s their reputations and careers on the line.

One method to stop teams tanking is used in the NBA – they put the bottom few sides into a lottery. So team 9-16 on the ladder all go into a lucky dip scenario where your name gets drawn out of a hat to see who picks where. Not very fair, but provides no incentive to finish last.

Fantasy draft: What might the NRL look like with the introduction of a rookie player draft?

They traded Ryan James and Jai Arrow for Tino and Fifita. That’s a win in my book. The other players they let go were fringe first graders or regular first graders making little impact.

Making the leap: NRL clubs poised to take the next step in 2021

Morning Paul. I’m a bit of a Panthers skeptic. They had a dream run last season, and I doubt they can replicate their position on the ladder. But I’m most interested to see if they can maintain that level of intensity each and every week.

Making the leap: NRL clubs poised to take the next step in 2021

Thanks for the correction Harry. I got that info from NRL.com. I blame Jamie Soward

Making the leap: NRL clubs poised to take the next step in 2021

My issue with DCE is that he just doesn’t win games on his own like many other players in his elite class manage to do. He’s a great player, and one of the best at his position, but not a match winner. If Tom Turbo can’t play, paying DCE top dollar is pointless.

Closing time: The NRL clubs watching their premiership window slam shut

Parramatta are a lock for the top 4, but I would never trust Moses to win a big game. He just doesn’t have it in him.

With Souths, I feel like they have a specific window with Reynolds and Walker in the halves and Cook at hooker. That combination is likely to remain in place for only 1-2 more seasons. And who knows what happens with Mitchell. This season will be their best chance to win a comp in the foreseeable future.

Closing time: The NRL clubs watching their premiership window slam shut

Maybe if Channel 9 absorb the ABC, you might be in luck. I could see Rabbits Warren singing songs with Big Ted and then bursting out with a “Papenhuyzen!!!!!”

Closing time: The NRL clubs watching their premiership window slam shut

I’d take Ponga and Papenhuyzen over Latrell in a heartbeat

Closing time: The NRL clubs watching their premiership window slam shut

Tom Turbo looks like becoming a more talented Matt Moylan. So much talent, but his body might not be built for rugby league. Something needs to change for him to last more than a couple more seasons. Maybe put him on an edge? He’s certainly big enough

Closing time: The NRL clubs watching their premiership window slam shut

Thanks RS. I could easily see a Storm v Bunnies GF this year. Would be a cracking game.

Closing time: The NRL clubs watching their premiership window slam shut

Getting stuck into big Pete! I didn’t know that was permissible. Keep an eye out for the News Corp hired goons. I think Anthony Griffin has them on retainer, but watch out all the same.

My 2021 NRL wish list

It’s got nice beaches. Too many Sharks in them though.

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

Surely you can’t still think Luke Brooks is going to become anything. This is his 9th year of first grade!!! I feel like he’s still living off of that debut game where people compared him to Joey. Time to move on.

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

Sounds like Dragons fans are in for a fun year!

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

I think there’s more to the Griffin story than meets the eye. After he got the boot from Penrith, he cozied up to his buddies at the Telegraph and on NRL 360, and they went on a smear campaign against Gould. It felt like we were only hearing one side of the story, and if that story is coming from Rothfield, I don’t believe it.

Griffin has had 2 chances to coach at first grade level, and won very little. What gives you confidence that he can win this time?

I would be more excited to see the Dragons move in a fresh new direction rather than kicking the tyres on Hook

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

Morning Paul

I’ve got nothing against Hook, but I don’t really rate him as a coach. He might be the sort of guy you bring in to harden up a talented but underachieving young side – sort of what he did at Penrith – but I wouldn’t trust him to rebuild a side. Which is what the Dragons need. I think he’ll be one and done this season.

And if I were the Tigers, Madge would be the only one I would keep. I would gut the entire roster and let McGuire have a crack at building it again. I’m not sure who the Tigers could bring in at this stage who would be a better option.

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

I think the Top 8 is a starting point, at least from a coaching perspective. Sure everyone wants to win a premiership, but if a coach can sit back at his end of season review and say that his team qualified for the finals, that’s usually seen as a successful year. Even more so when they are filling out their CV – being able to claim that your team made X finals appearances in Y years always looks great.

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022

That sounds good in theory, but if I’m a Dragons fan, I’m not getting overly excited about any sort of cohesiveness between Hunt, Norman and McCullough

One eye on the future: The NRL clubs already looking towards 2022