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Off to the Market to pick up a bargain
For the last time with feeling all Rugby League fans wait with baited breath for the opening of the transfer market this week. If previous years are anything to go by dozens of NRL players will be heading to bed early on Friday night in preparation for contract negotiations?at midnight.
It?s an interesting time for fans and administrators alike. Page upon page of stories have appeared in the papers and on this very website discussing where the high profile talent will go. In the next few days big ticket purchases such as Roy Asotasi, Jake Webster and Jamie Lyon will be counting the zeros on their fresh contracts, while their new clubs try to fathom how they?ll cope with such a hole in their cap.
However, arguably a more crucial acquisition for most teams are the bargain basement buys, and these low price players often aren?t as useless or washed up as they may seem. Some are out of favour with their current clubs for varied reasons - many are stuck behind a quality footballer playing in their position, while others are promising youngsters that simply cannot be kept under their teams cap. It?s worth considering that it?s often these players that tend to be the best buys of the season. The clubs love then because they?re cheap, fans have little expectations of them so are pleasantly surprised, and the players themselves are appreciative just for the opportunity.
So as we reach July 1st lets look at a 2006 NRL Bargain Buy Team:
Wingers Shane Elford- Has been a consistent performer at the Tigers and is a solid defender with a premiership under his belt. Would be a good acquisition for any club.
Daniel Fitzhenry- His strength is that he?s hard to read. Looking at him play you?d think he lacks pace. But he was fast and powerful enough to get over the line 11 times last year.
Centres Adam MacDougall- Hmmm?You could say he?s out of favour with his current club. But he?s the kind of guy who thrives under adversity. Would come at a bargain price.
Josh Hannay- The Knights and the Irish Rugby Union are apparently interested in this Queensland centre, and why not. He?s in the remarkable position of representing in State of Origin and playing for his career at the same time.
Halves Travis Burns- One of the form five-eighths of the early rounds of the competition, he knows what it?s like to be fighting for his career. Would bring this determination to any club.
Joe Williams- Spent too much time in Premier League this year. Could be a very handy utility player for any NRL club.
Lock/Second Row David Stagg- Comes from a great nursery and is a hard working player. Might slip under the radar of many clubs who are chasing higher profile forwards.
Ben Creagh- A talented youngster who?s already tasted representative football. Not a lot of buzz about teams wanting to sign him meaning he might be picked up at a reasonable price.
Dallas McIllwain- He?s just coming of age as a forward, but is still reasonably experienced. Could be a valuable bench player.
Props Sean Rudgerson- One of these overseas players that sneaks under the radar. He?s only 28, keen to return to Australia, and has played some great football for Salford this season. He?s also an international representative?for South Africa.
Mark Bryant- Young and tough. Is a fringe first grader that deserves to press for a regular starting spot. May have to leave Manly if they spend big on other purchases.