Who gives a Schif if you stay or go?

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I read with interest this morning that Canberra Raiders captain Clinton Schifcofske is still considering a move to Rugby and that his departure from the nations capital is imminent.

Schifcofske was quoted as saying ?I?ll do the right thing by the Raiders?. Sorry Clinton, that time has come and gone and each day without a decision means you are shafting the team, the club and more importantly, the fans. I doubt the fans reaction is even a secondary concern for Schif as he prepares to abandon the Raiders and leave them destitute, talent wise.

As bitter a pill it would have been to swallow three weeks ago, now it?s much worse and any respect I had for him as a player and a person is fast diminishing. Rolling out clich?s like ?loyalty is a two way street? is a tried and true method but unfortunately it still rings true at the end of the day.

We are nine days past the June 30 anti tampering deadline so the chance to do the right thing is about as stale as the mouldy bread in my cupboard. Canberra are in the grips of a player drain (Mogg, Woolford and Smith all going) and for the captain of the first grade team to consider his options NOW shows there is very little loyalty towards the club and the role of captain has a value in dollar terms only.

I want players at my club who want to be there and if Schifcofske stays, it wont be because of loyalty, it will be because the Queensland Reds couldn?t come up with a better offer. This is not the person I want leading my team onto the field. This is not a person I want at my club and if it means his departure consigns the Raiders to the wooden spoon, then so be it. I would be more supportive of the club even if they were getting belted by 40 each week and if I knew the players who were turning up each week really wanted to be there, not just a whistle stop on the road to fame and fortune, I?d be the happiest fan around. Ok, not the happiest but you get my drift.

Being capitalist in nature, I never begrudge a man a chance to earn as much as he can in his career but you know there is something wrong when a player on a rumoured $340,000 per season says he has to think about greener pastures for the good of himself and his family. Now, there could also be third party sponsorships and endorsements so the figure may be significantly higher than $340,000.

It?s salaries like these that drive up ticket prices and the cost of food and merchandise for the average fan and I bet my bottom dollar Clinton doesn?t get around town in a beat up Gemini.

I have to questions Clinton?s desire, is it the sport or the dollar that are driving you these days? There was a time when people like Clinton played for the love of their sport, not to fatten their already bulging wallets.

If ever professional sport found a way to disenfranchise fans, comments like his are only going to accelerate the process. I doubt Clinton has ever given much thought to the notion that the average fan earns about $50,000 per annum, pays for his/her ticket each week buys the jersey to support his/her club both on and off the field. If Schifcofske is earning about seven times the average fans annual wage and then says he has to look after his family, what is the man in the street going to be thinking? There has to be a connection between the haves and the have nots. Today that connection is about as reliable as Telstra?s internet service.

Yes, I realise there is a limited shelf life in Rugby League but when you have your manager getting you the good dollars, then $340,000 per year means in all likelihood you will own your own home well before your playing days are over and probably have another two or three as investments by the time you are 30.

All I can say to Clinton is, regardless of your next move, your status as a Raiders legend is gone and you can continue to pay homage to your picture of Gordon Gekko because greed may be good for you, but it leaves a bad after taste for this fan. Just don?t let the door hit on your way out.

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