Cronulla Sharks... One local junior...

Long time reader, first time blogger...

I overheard one of the commentators saying that Chad Townsend was the only local junior in the Cronulla Sharks premiership winning side. Is that right? If yes, then in my opinion it's a bit of a blight on the game. No disrespect to the Sharks, but they have basically manufactured a premiership based on creative accounting and outside talent.

Does this 'rotating door' player market have a detrimental effect on the game? Is NRL tribalism slowly being suffocated thanks to the policies of the NRL? They wonder why crowds are down and people aren't going to the footy anymore and this could have something to do with it.

Surely the clubs should be better compensated for developing local talent. They are out there promoting rugby league and investing plenty of time and resources to it. I don't know about you blokes (and ladies) but I always get a bigger kick out of watching a local junior go through the system and into first grade than a newly acquired signing from another club.


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  • IMO the "local" culture & passion as we know it is becoming extinct from an NRL perspective. The franchises r slowly being developed into a brand, becoming regional & portable at the behest of the NRL. 

  • In reality the Shire is a pretty small area so the Sharks aren't going to have  a heap of Juniors coming through. Likewise the Roosters. It's not their fault that their area is small (compared to say the Broncos, Nth Qld, Parra and Penrith). If you look at our 'local juniors' in our top 17 we might have what? 3? Mannah, Tepai and Alvaro? That is not many either, particularly when you consider how big our Junior area is.

    A better indication is looking at the number of players who made their first grade debut at the club. Both the eels and the Sharks would then have a higher number.

    And at the end of the day I couldn't give a shit where our players came from if we won a premiership. I'm sure the Sharks fans don't give a fuck either.

  • As an x Cronulla junior they never had any money and definitely never had the resources available to create any kind of culture within the club. Maybe they have the cash now they sold the blocks of flats next Door? Weekend junior club teams had more culture than the leagues club ever did. I know more than a few players that got graded that were either sponsors sons or were the CEO sons. They were good players but far from the best in the shire. I played in an SG Ball team that were mitre premiers and not one player from that year ever made it. Sorry Dean Raper made a GF with saints through a team members injury. I meant to ask my brother how many juniors were in the team and if the answer is one it does not surprise me one bit. As a junior I played against Brisbane brothers teams etc. and that had the money and facilities at the time.

    • Good points - thanks Davo.

  • Welcome aboard mate, juniors mean basically nothing imo, well to me they don't,, we've relied on our over rated juniors for 3 decades and been the poorest recruiting team, look where it got us, the romance of juniors is one thing i can't get into.

    Im just interested in winning a comp, if our juniors are good enough to be there all the better, i just want the best players.

    The knock on effect of winning a comp would be huge for us.

    I get no bigger kick out of seeing a luke burt over a Kenny Edwards, Wicks, Manu, i get a bigger kick out of having the best players we can.

    Im just about to eat dinner, you've raised some great points about being compensated for developing junior talent, will get back to this soon, again, welcome mate.

    • Thanks for the welcome and yes, I want to win the comp too. I'm thinking more about the game as a whole and how we combat the encroachment of AFL and soccer. The NRL don't seem to want to outlay too much of their multi-billion dollar broadcast deal into junior development and to be honest, they're a pretty narrow-minded bunch.

      In my opinion, clubs should be encouraged to foster the growth of the game at a grass-roots level. If that leads to local talent playing for a local NRL team, then great. It would also encourage clubs with small geographic areas to think outside the box. Every cent they pump into junior development (in their local area or not) could be matched on a 'dollar-for-dollar' basis by the NRL (on top of salary cap incentives). Lets face it, the FFA and AFL are kickin the NRL's arse when it comes to junior participation / engagement.

  • Ha, well there you go. We shouldn't be throwing stones

  • Well said

  • Hi Brett - sorry if you've had a bad day but I guess I'm trying to work out why fans don't seem to go to the footy as much these days. The product (NRL) is losing fans (to AFL, soccer and other sports) due to constant rule changes, high prices, poor match scheduling and so on. Having a football club connected to a geographic area (and junior base) can only be a good thing for the development of the game.

  • "the romance of juniors is one thing I can't get into"

    I should hope not Snake
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