Still hate the Roosters! You know
we still hate the Roosters?

No, no, I?m not about to start another piece about how much the Burrow owns other supporter groups ? I have however quoted the South Sydney chant to as an insight into the mentality which opposition fans have adopted towards the Roosters over recent years.

When opposition fans speak about the Roosters of the last decade many common themes recur:

1.Their ?super-star? team gained with the apparent lack of a junior league, 2.Since they have so many stars they must be over the salary cap, and 3.The Roosters people in influential positions within the NRL preclude them from being caught.

Roosters fans justify the animosity generated towards them as a simple jealousy of success - and this argument does hold weight. Put bluntly, the last team to polarise popular opinion in this manner was the Manly team of the early 90?s and while the team was quite successful, the public did not take to it at all. The reason for this can be put down to the fact that Manly created this team seemingly through the money invested.

This is where the parallels with the current Roosters team start for many people. The perception is that the Roosters created this team of ?super-stars? by poaching established players from other teams, and while this argument could hold some weight given the Roosters lack of a strong junior league it is essentially flawed.

The main reason for this is that Roosters are probably one of the best teams in the identification and acquisition of talented young players ? which can be highlighted by the number of players who have started their first grade career at the Roosters.

However, this argument also has a downside since it can be used to imply that the Roosters are good at luring other clubs juniors away ? a point which would be conceded by most unbiased Roosters fans.

Since the Roosters have such a great team, many other fans believe that they simply must be over the salary cap ? a conspiracy theory which has been continued in large by the media ? much to the Roosters disgust.

However, I would put forward that this statement is false simply due to the fact that it has not been proved otherwise. Moreover, a lot of the Roosters current players have started their careers at the club and as such would not be on as much as they could be at other clubs. Of course, some players would be on decent sized contracts but as we are consistently told that players accept smaller contracts to play for the Roosters surely we can assume that the NRL is doing its job in policing.

The NRL?s salary cap auditor, Ian Schubert, is seen to be thorough and fair to all clubs, however the fact that Mr Schubert is an ex-Roosters player does indeed cast some doubt in opposition eyes. The fact that the Roosters have people affiliated with their club in influential positions within the NRL leads people to think that there could be some impartiality in the decision making process. This was highlighted only recently when the NRL partnership board, of which Roosters Chairman Nick Politis is a member, pushed through changed for an unlimited salary cap for the junior competitions ? with the Roosters reaping immediate benefits with their unbeaten Jersey Flegg team.

However, in what I believe to be the biggest point of concern to opposition fans, is the attitude of both the Roosters club and its supporters. The club itself has been criticised for its outspoken opposition of the salary cap, and also given the assertion that they seem think they are larger than the game. These opinions, however correct they may be, were highlighted by Brad Fittlers recent no-show at the NRL finals launch. Similarly, Roosters fans have been attacked due to their elitist attitude displayed within public Internet forums. However, it remains to be seen how much of this is a reaction to the negative manner in which opposition supports speak about the Roosters.

I am not a Roosters fan. In fact, I could be categorised as one of the many people who does not agree with the decisions taken by the club, and moreover the attitudes which most of their fans appear to carry. However, I want it to be known that while I may scream ?YOU KNOW WE STILL HATE THE ROOSTERS!? I acknowledge both the good and the bad aspects within the club.

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