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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      • Look I hate to hose down a good " Jake shouldn't have been in the squad " lyching that's sure to follow this one , but let's not forget there are rules as to whom you can play. Firstly we have to only assume Hands was as good 12 months ago. Secondly you'd have to fill a spot in the 30 with a bloke that's just arrived that may not even be needed as our Hooker played 80 mins.  

        In saying that , if it were me , I would've added him if he was looking half decent and I'd have reduced Mahoneys minutes with the veiw to potentially drop him to NSW cup throughout the season. Fuck him , let him toil it out and send him to Canterbury rooted , but that's just me .


        we don't know whether there were reasons for believing Hands was not ready or up to it yet back then. 

      • I think we are learning lessons from years past throwing guys into early.

        Ive dealt with situations like this in rugby union in my travels imo though there talent suggests there ready there bodies and mentality suggest otherwise.

        Ive seen a lot over the years with young talented guys being ruined because they just can't handle playing in a harder faster physical game it takes no prisoners.

        When we used to play we used to actually rip these young guys a new one when they came on the field with a reputation.You would show them no mercy and a price would be paid.Ive always been of the mind not rushing these guys.

        For a guy like Hands biding his time in Cup at the age of 23 his body has done the mileage he has the talent he can stand up to it physically.Now a year or 2 ago he may not have been in the same Nick to handle it I don't know.In my experience very few are.

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    • Spot on mutts, it's crazy that players aren't given more of an opportunity yet his own son has been given way more than he should have.

      • Brad isn't a development coach enough said.  Unless you've played for the rhinos you have next to zero hope under this coach.   This isn't what parramatta is about.  Its  absurd that 90% of our nel team are imports, its a massive joke for the region. . 

        • Probably says more about the people under BA than it does BA mate.  He doesn't coach every team from under 7s up to NRL. 

          But I agree , how the fuck doesn't such a big pond have a conveyer belt of talent coming along .  Guess it's due to the Parramatta region now being full of Indians and Chinese. All the islander lads have been pushed further West and all the Aussies lads are now non binary homos thanks to the education system 

          • Wiz, I know I'm an antique but what the fuck is a non binary homo. Are there women involved in this caper. 

            • 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. 

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