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This week in Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) competition we witnessed another blow to the game. When did it become acceptable to the NRL for a player to walk out on his contract four weeks into a season and then resign with another club for the remainder of 2009??
This is the scenario that faced Western Sydney club the Parramatta Eels last week.
Brett Finch wanted to leave Parramatta after coach Daniel Anderson allegedly told him he may not be the man to lead the side into the 2009 final series. Finch’s manager Steve Gillis has backed his star player and placed the blame solely on the Eels’ coach.
Gillis was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald. “The coach made it quite clear to Brett that he didn’t think he was the solution going forward. He suggested going to England as an option for him. He indicated that if Brett found somewhere else to go, he could walk.”
I think this is ridiculous behaviour from both Finch and Eels coach Anderson. Where is the loyalty to the club and the loyalty to the player in this scenario?
Finch should have loyalty to his club, cop the bad performances with the good and get on with the job.
Anderson should have loyalty to the players on his roster. After four rounds is it too early to be telling the main playmaker he’s not the man for the job?
Melbourne Storm don’t get off lightly either. Where is their loyalty to their second-string players slugging their guts out to make first grade? Why not give them a chance before hiring a bloke who gave up after a few rough performances.
I guess it’s too late now to point fingers but this is a worrying trend for the NRL. If a goal kicker from one team starts to miss a few goals does the coach sit him down and say you’re gone and poach a new goal kicker from another team….
Other sports around the globe allow mid-season transfers. These sports are multi-billion dollar industries and have practised such swapping for many years. The NRL is too small to entertain these mid-season moves.
Rugby league was built on blue-collar workers playing for their local club and staying there for life. Maybe I’m sentimental but not many players start at a club and have their retirement dinner at the same place. This makes me mad!!
So who’s to blame for this debacle? I personally blame the player, the coach and the new club.
One thing’s for sure, I’ll be at Parramatta Stadium when they play Melbourne at home in round 19. The crowd will give it to Brett Finch and I guess the Eels Board will know whether Anderson’s made the right decision.