Where is our talent coming from

This is a slightly different tack to the same old questions, but at the same time, I think it identifies with Parra's need to be more visionary with our development squads and recruitment.

Last night I was at the annual presentation of a senior district club. I am a life member and a past president of it, but not hands-on anymore.

I could not help but note that their minor grades, the under 19's and even the first-grade side are getting crap results.

In asking why are we not winning anything, the answer I got was we were struggling to find the "cattle" but I said what about the juniors and they said the quality in our pathways is not working, why aren't you recruiting outside of your pathways (this club has a huge junior base). I said that if you get some talent from outside of our natural pathways and blend it with the locals, you will see big changes. Well, they are developing the girls grades, doing a 1 1/2 million ground-up grade, better facilities and so on. But, they have lost track of performing on the field.

Has Parramata RLDC fallen for the same tactical problem? We obviously have a second-grade Cup team with limited ability to play first-grade. I was not concerned 3 years ago when Jordan Rankin came into captain and mentor the side. I think he was a specific reason JA developed so fast. I watch JA at that time when he first came into Cup and he was getting the wraps, but really it was set up by Rankin. JA's subsequent development is irrelevant, as many will not make it. There is no need to argue whether he specifically will or not: he is no superstar young half-back that is being identified in a lot of other clubs. The Titans absolutely have some outstanding juniors coming through and that means some/ many will miss out. We need to be looking at these kids from the get-go.

Quiet simply, if I was a Parra talent scout I would have a dossier on every junior club, country, state and national teams. And sure, yes, continue to develop our pathways but create scholarships into some other teams from other area's. We are missing a lot of talent, and if I was a board member, I would want to know why and what are we doing about it.

The leagues is exceptionally successful now, application of such riches needs to be spent on all sorts of feeders, the club will prosper in the long run......i.e can we have a secondary NSW cup side playing, if Blacktown workers can have one, why not us talking to them and identifying them with our Kellyville programmes, the same with Wenty and maybe a country team as well.

This is fine, but 3 years later Rankin is still actually playing and I don't think we can afford this, compared to 3 years ago when our reserve grade was a mess. 

Now I believe that our Reserve Grade side needs to be young players especially chosen with the potential to be playing first grade within 3 years of arriving, not guys who are not progressing that way, we need to be ruthless and send out the message to young players, especially country kids, islanders, rugby sevens and anywhere else we can find talent.

We have seen in recent weeks that guys like Hands, Greig, Doory etc are much more capable than originally conceived.

Likewise, for some others as well and they are being held back because our coaches are not opening the opportunities when they present. We should never have had to wait this long for Hands to be identified.

Worryingly, if the game that just passed us by this last Thursday is any indication, BA has learnt nothing from his revelation the week before. Leaving Hodgson on (not JH's fault) was a huge tactical blunder after he worked through the period of the first sin bin. Hands should have been on as soon as that player ran back on the field. Then Hodgson would not have had to struggle through the next sin-binning.

Talent needs to be supported by the coaching staff and we all know now that BA is letting a lot pass through to the keeper.

Christ, we are flat out finding anyone that can run fast. Dumpster and Russell have been identified, but to be frank the pair are not anything special (yes the best we have) but not standouts.

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            • Only if they identify as men

  • A lot of what you say is spot on Pops. Just an observation from me up here on the mid north coast. Group 3. Basically Forster to Kempsey area. We have a huge nursery up here. We've had many many rep events state cup events, both touch footy, league tag and the traditional tackle football. some of the carnivals have gone for ages with some very good talent on show. 
    This brings me to my point, I have come accross and had many conversations with NRL football scouts up here. We have had reps from Roosters with Boyd  Newcastle  with Buderous, Chief, Bulldogs with Gus and numerous others, Penrith with Alexander, Souths reps, Titans Reps, Manly reps, Tigers reps. What Ive never come accross up here in the last decade are Eels reps.  Interesting.

  • I dont think the NRL have striked a good balance either with their rules. ie Top 30 ! outside that you have development players that can play under certain conditions. What this does is really hamper a club from developing and promoting youngsters. Many youngsters never get a go because many clubs dont take the risk on them, they only get 30 players that they can use in first grade etc.

    To be honest a club, 1st grade should be able to register and play any person that they want. It shouldnt matter if they are in the top 30 out of the top 30, playing local country footy, a first grade english player on holiday. It shouldnt matter. Give the clubs these options they will try youngsters and release them if they are not up to it. They can replace injured squad players instantly from any competition. 
    You look at our club right now. We cant replace say Waqa because of injuries or players outside the 30. We are essentially blocked in and have to play him. Wouldnt it be nice to be able to try Cini or anyone from anywhere else for a game or two. After all this is the NRL first grade, the best of the best league in the world. We hamper ourselves through this top 30 rule. Back when we were playing a club could get anyone from anywhere, to replace players. Its just such a shame these days with the RLPA insisting on such restrictive squads, money etc.

    • Agreed the playable squad could be much more flexible. Still need some boundaries though, otherwise it could be chaos. 

      • It just needs to be bigger 

  • Great blog. 100% nailed it Poppa.  Frustrating waiting for the next 5-6 of kids to come through in a group similar to Penrith had. Advantage is that they all know each others games from the age 10. They push through the strong clubs then junior reps , school scholarships and during these 5-10 years win comps year in year out and are coached by people they have known most of their football lives.

    I know parramatta has really thrown the net out with the 16/s and below .  By catching a huge pool you are hoping the good one is identified and even better a group of boys can start the process together which makes transition to nrl easier . Problem with this is big player numbers reduces individual player identification and some guys are swallowed up in the group.  Large numbers of Polynesian boys can often struggle in large groups and they fall through the cracks . 
    if I knew the answers I would be in the front office earning $$ and saying I told you so. 

    one final thing I have always rated the qld comp and the school catchments that produce some quality year after year .  

  • Like I said in the other blog, When Brad's claim to fame his the great white hope Daniel Alvoro, you know the bush coach has an eye for young talent. 

    Brad has probably one of the worst development records out of any coach in history when it comes to junior development. Look at our current lineup,  id say more than 80% have come from other clubs, and there's hardly anyone that we know of that are pushing for positions.   

    In conclusion,  brad doesn't like taking risks on developing players its as simple as that

    • You're a funny guy, Chief. You keep flogging the same horse not even realising it's already dead and buried and you're sitting on an empty saddle!!! Funny stuff. I'm having a great day on the punt, so the comedy gold from you and Realist in this blog is really making my day!!!!

    • Dylan Brown Manu Ma'u Semi Radradra

      The latter didn't even no the rules when he got off the plane and was played immediately.

      Ma'u a year out of jail had a good offseason and jumped Kelepi Tainganoa.

      DB came through the ranks replaced Corey Norman at 18 and the rest is history.


      • Sorry coryn but semi had already played a full season of nyc, and made his first grade debut  in 2013 before BA was even considered for the head coaching role. 

        dylan brown was also spotted by an eels scout, same as manu ma'u. BA had nothing to do with getting to the club. 

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