Carting it up with Stevo

Mogg?s debut just a tease

In a years time Queensland?s Adam Mogg will be sitting in the south of France watching Game 2 of the 2007 State of Origin series and undoubtedly wondering what might have been. Mogg had a fantastic debut for the Maroons on Wednesday, highlighted by two worthy tries and that tackle on Mark Gasnier. Unfortunately for the Rugby League community it has all been a tease.

See Mogg had committed to play for the Catalan Dragons for the next three years prior to his selection in the Queensland Origin team. This means his certain selection for Game 3 in Melbourne will also be his Origin swansong.

Over the years there has been an unwritten rule regarding selection for Origin. Generally any player that has signed or is playing with a foreign team is barred from playing in the series. There have been a few exceptions, the most famous being Alan Langer?s selection while he was still playing in England. However, for the most part, the rule has been followed.

In Mogg?s case this rule was ignored, with basically no explanation as to why (is this an exception, or does the rule cease to exist?). While some Rugby League journalists have criticised the unwritten rule over the years, Mogg?s selection has highlighted the importance of this boundary.

Mogg?s glorious Origin debut on Wednesday may well go down as 2006?s greatest tease. The fans got to see a player on one of the greatest stages in our sport, performing with great skill and commitment. However next year he will disappear to the other side of the world, with only the most committed Fox Sports viewers getting to see him on the occasional Friday afternoon Super League replay. Imagine if your son or daughter watched Wednesdays game and suddenly became Adam Mogg fans. It?ll be hard for any parent to have to tell a 7 or 8 year old that their Origin hero won?t be seen again in a Queensland jersey come July 5th.

Undoubtedly the Maroons team have also shot themselves in the foot by selecting the Canberra back. Mogg may develop into a supreme representative player by the end of the series, only for Queensland selectors to have to start again next year. By selecting a player who is definitely off to Europe, the Maroon are holding back another player that could be developed as a long term prospect. Instead the Catalans will benefit from Mogg?s development next year.

Importantly for Adam Mogg himself this year will be the ultimate tease. I wouldn?t suggest for a second that Mogg would rather have not played on Wednesday. But considering he has already committed to the Catalans, he must have entered the game with mixed emotions. He would have known that a good game would secure him a berth in Game 3, but then that would be the end of his representative career. If the Australian selectors stick to their own unwritten rules, Mogg has no chance of playing for Australia in this year?s Tri-Nations no matter how strong his end of season form is.

And this is where Moggs selection seems to be the most unfair. It?s a tough decision for players considering ending their careers in Europe. They have to forgo living conditions, friends, family and, it is assumed, representative football. By allowing Mogg just a taste, the QRL have unfairly teased one of their own.

As I said Mogg wouldn?t give up Wednesday for anything, it?s just a shame for all Rugby League fans that we have to give him up after a game like that