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5 days ago
First Ruben Wiki, then Luke Davico, now Steven Price. NRL clubs Canberra and the Bulldogs have been rocked with the news that the very heart of their team has decided that the opportunity to secure a financial future for their families outweighs the rewards of staying one-club men over their career. There can be no second guessing the overriding motive for each players decision to uproot from the clubs they have been a part of for a decade and move to more lucrative pastures. They simply cannot justify for-going upwards of $100,000 a season to stay with their original clubs.
For many fans this financial incentive comes a distant second to club loyalty, but if the roles were reversed and any fan was offered an extra hundred grand to do the same job as they do now with extra benefits, you would be delusional to knock it back. Sadly this flipside is ignored when it comes to football and the players do not deserve the hammering they receive for their decisions.
At the end of the day, the clubs who have had ten plus years of service from these players have had to bite the bullett on the age issue. Each player is over 30, and are undoubtedly entering the twilight of their career in positions that place and awful lot of strain on their bodies week in week out. The extra money that is guaranteed regardless of injury is another huge factor in influencing any decision. That is not to say Wiki, Davico and Price won?t ?go the distance? but the reality is the odds are stacking up against them and their already battered bodies.
If you need evidence of that find a rookie picture of any player and compare it to them in their tenth year of grade football, there is a stark contrast in appearance. Football is a tough, uncompromising sport not for the faint hearted (although some could argue that is not the case with some players), and the lifespan of a rugby league career is very short. Players make decisions in the end for their family and themselves and fans need to understand that no amount of praise or rejection will override that factor. Nor should we as fans forget the years of great and loyal service these players have given.
Recent established one-club player defections:
Timana Tahu: Knights to Eels
Joel Monaghan: Raiders to Roosters
Nathan Fien: Cowboys to Warriors
Peter Cusack: Roosters to Rabbitohs
Shannon Hegarty: Roosters to Rabbitohs
Henry Fa'afili: Warriors to Warrington
By Warrick Nicolson, [email protected]