We’ve Got Issues: Transfer Period

Manly - Daly Cherry-EvansBy STEVE MASCORD
PAUL Green knowns all too well about the pitfalls of trying to regulate the movement of players between clubs,
“I got sacked at the Cowboys because they tried to say I was negotiating before June 30,” the current North Queensland coach tells League Week when we tell him we’re doing a story on the possibility of a transfer window in the NRL.
“It probably is a good idea because at least you can manage the fallout or whatever’s going to happen about it
“You’re never going to stop it (negotiations). It’s probably about making it as less-painful as you can for the fans and supporters.”
The idea that rugby league would ape others sports by limiting discussions between players and clubs has gained renewed currency in recent months following the decisions of Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran to sign contracts with rival clubs in 2016.
RLW understands the NRL raised the idea in discussions with the Rugby League Players Association a year ago but it went nowhere. The RLPA wouldn’t be surprised if it came up again.
But Green is a walking reminder of why we got rid of restrictions in the first place – they are nigh on impossible to enforce. He eventually won an out-of-court settlement from the cowboys over his sacking midway through 2000.
Nevertheless, Foran, who is going to Parramatta next year, favours a change,
“I’m the same as everyone else – I’m not a fan of ithe told Triple M in a recent interview.
“When you’re signing for another club and you’ve still got 26 rounds to go, I don’t think it’s good for the fans and I don’t think it’s good for the club.
LOZHh51420274496“I don’t what the solution is but I think they’ve got to fix it,”
The argument against having the trade window at the end of the year is that it doesn’t leave players long to move their entire family to another city if necessary,
But Sydney Roosters centre Michael Jennings says: “I think at the end of the year when no teams are playing … I can just see itas a distraction to the clubs and the team and the fans during the season
“so I think the end of the year would be ideal for not just the fans but the player. They can get settled.
“When you’re playing a game, knowing you are going to another club the following year is a distraction.”
Others are willing to listen to argument s for and against a trade window.
“I’d have to have a good think about it,”says Cronulla’s Luke Lewis. “But I’m pretty open to anything that makes it better for players to work out their future, to work out what they’re going to do.
“If it’s going To benefit the players, I’m all for it,”
Team-mate Michael Ennis adds: “it’s hard for the fans, too, you know? They spend a lot of their hard-earned money to support teams.
“To support a team knowing the players aren’t going to be there in 12 months’ time – when things are done so early in the season – is hard for them.”
donate2No-one thinks players will actually hold off deciding their futures until the end of the season – but there is a feeling everyone might be able to keep their mouths shut if the trade window was introduced.
Given that contracts cannot be registered until June 30 anyway, perhaps that is the best time for the trading period. Any arrangement reached before then isn’t legally binding anyway,
And it would give the game another media property to promote and leverage,
Of course, in the middle of all is is the idea that an internal draft would return – that would put paid to the need for any sort of formalised trading period because you’d just have to go where you are told.
Green concludes: “The guys that are involved, it’s part of the business now. You get your head around it and get on with it.
“But it’s the fans who probably hurt more than everyone else and can’t understanding it.
“So at least if there’s a trade window for a period, you kind of know it’s coming.
“You’re not going to stop it but when the information comes out, you can manage that better.
“If you’re going to have a transfer week, that’s when it’s all going to happen – even though it’s all really happened beforehand.
“And that’s probably the hardest thing for the fans to get their heads around.
“There’re not too many secrets in league, either, which makes it hard. But if everyone agrees on it, it’s probably a better look.”
Everyone agreeing on putting the game first? Hmmm….

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

Cooper Cronk’s Origin Advice To Daly Cherry-Evans

Cooper Cronk/wikipedia

Cooper Cronk/wikipedia

By STEVE MASCORD
QUEENSLAND halfback Cooper Cronk has made public the advice he will give Daly Cherry-Evans about filling the fraught interchange utility role in Origin II.
Melbourne’s Cronk started his Origin career as an interchange specialist behind Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston, only gaining a starting place upon Lockyer’s retirement.
Manly’s Cherry Evans comes into the Queensland squad for Wednesday’s Suncorp Stadium clash with NSW after coach Mal Meninga used four forwards on the bench in game one.
“You get the experience of Origin without the pressure cooker of starting,” Cronk tells Fairfax Media.
“The worst thing is you get to warm up, you get all the adrenalin, and then you have to sit down for a bit.
“I know Daly will want to have an impact and that’s a positive. You want to come out in the game when most players are tired and I’m sure he’ll have a contribution to this performance on Wednesday night.
“(The advice is) ‘don’t hesitate’.”
Cronk says filling the bench role helped prepare him for his current position as Australia’s first choice halfback.
“I was fortune enough to play that sort-of utility role in the early years,” Cronk says.
“I think it was really a benefit in terms of getting a feel for Origin. It’s helped me today and I know I’m more than happy to help Daly would in terms of any questions in terms of playing in the middle or playing in the halves or anything like that.”
Cronk was rested from last Sunday’s narrow win over Newcastle and says he is not longer stressed about missing club games at Origin time. Brett Finch deputised and will again do so in Monday Night Football against Gold Coast.
“We’ve got Brett Finch playing at an extraordinary level at Cronulla and hopefully we don’t lose five games at the end of Origin so there’s a plan in place,” he said,
“I was a little bit sore after the Sharks game so there was a decision made. The boys are playing this week without the Origin players so getting Brett Finch in a week early – the result made the decision a smart one.
“I’ve probably changed in my attitude in terms of watching football. I used to find it difficult but I’m comfortable with the decision.
“You try to stick to a plan and while it doesn’t guarantee you success, hopefully it’s the best thing for the club.”

Like his club, state and national captain Cameron Smith, Cronk was dismayed by the off-field controversies of recent weeks and is acutely aware of the damage done to the game’s image in virgin territories like Victoria.
“We as players have a responsibility greater than the scoreboard – to entice young people to play the game, mums and dads, I think that’s paramount whether you’re playing at the highest level or the lower levels,” he said.
But Cronk offered no philosophical musings such as his comments before the opening match of the series about villages made of hay and states of grace.
“I heard it caused a stir,” Cronk said when asked about the email interview in question, “but I’m comfortable with every single word that came out.
“I described it in a manner that’s probably not the norm but look, it is what it is.”

Filed for: SUNDAY AGE

Cherry-Evans Rewards Team-Mates For Support

Manly - Daly Cherry-EvansBy STEVE MASCORD

WHEN it comes to teasing team-mates, little is usually off-limits in the NRL. But Manly players last week drew the line at geeing up Daly Cherry Evans over the line-dropout that cost them the match against Gold Coast.

And the Sea Eagles halfback rewarded their tact with an irresistible performance in the 26-0 shutout of Wests Tigers last Thursday.

“The team didn’t give him too much stick – even friendly sort of stuff,” prop Brent Kite said of the March 23 defeat, from a penalty goal in front when Cherry-Evans’ line dropout went into touch on the full.

“Personally, I looked at my own performance and a couple of things that were a little off and I’d done them better, would have contributed to us having a win.

“We just let him do what he does best and that’s leading us around and getting those deep kicks into the corner which I think he did better this week than last week.

“To his credit, he’s been really up-beat. I think you saw that if you give them some time, those halves, they can really do some damage.”

Cherry-Evans tells Rugby League Week he appreciated the support of team-mates.

“I put a lot of onus on myself in regard to losing that game last week,” he said. “We obviously had opportunities during the game but my kick was the one that gave them two points.

“I was really disappointed in myself but I was fortunate we had a short turnaround this week so we could get straight back out there and make amends.

“I was feeling really down but we’ve got such a good culture the boys were more than happy to come over and pat me on the back and let me know that there’s next week to fix it.

“Hopefully I did what I could to give the boys the two points.”

The Sea Eagles face up to Canterbury on Friday night in a round five encounter which could provide either side with a springboard after a mixed start to the season.
Kite, meanwhile, is confident Manly will lose little with his departure next year to Penrith on a two-year deal.

“They’ve recruited pretty well here considering there’s pressure as far as the cap goes,” he said.

“They’ve got some young blokes here on a bit of a chance. They’ve seen we’ve had a bit of success in the past and they’re happy to come and try to be part of that culture.

“They’re doing well, if not leading the way.

“I’ve seen a lot of the guys go before me so I’m just happy the ride has lasted as long as it has.

“They should go well. We don’t have a big three or a big two. We’ve shared the load. We’ve seen guys show a bit of loyalty and take less cash to keep the squad together as long as we have.

“We have seen guys leave. From the ’08 grand final, we’ve got eight guys still here. Although we have to lose guys year on year, we’ve haven’t lost them en masse.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

How Joey Overhauled Manly’s Attack

Manly - Kieran Foran (cropped)By STEVE MASCORD
MANLY players have revealed how Immortal Andrew Johns has overhauled the attacking play of halves Daly Cherry Evans and Keiran Foran for 2013.
It was a feature of the Sea Eagles’ 22-14 win over Brisbane on Friday night that the playmakers were often next to each other rather than patrolling different sides of the field, as has been the case for most of their time together in first grade.
“You might have notices they linked up a couple of times … which was good to see,” said prop Brent Kite.
“They’ve been locked in on their respective sides and it was good to see them linking up. We scored a try off one movement.
“I think Joey might have had a bit to do with that, Toovs (coach Geoff Toovey) as well. There’s a bit of a brains trust there – Brad Arthur’s going really well.
“They’re doing a bit of work with Joey away from the team but also, they’ve got a few structures where we big blokes are involved in some of their collaborations.
“We’re in the middle of some of their linking movements and we need to be there (at training) for that.”
Johns, who had previously worked as a consultant at a number of clubs, became a fulltime member of the Manly coaching staff in November.
Back rower Anthony Watmough added: “Having Joey on board is massive for our young boys. Look at the way they played. The thing is, they’ve got improving to do – that’s only going to be a bonus to us.
“Any time you can get your halves on the big side, running plays, it’s dangerous. Teams are doing it, so is our team, and it’s exciting football to watch.”
Hooker Matt Ballin said: “If we can involve Daly and Kieran in the same play and we’ve got guys like Brett Stewart out the back – and Jamie Lyon.
“We want to involve those two guys together and I think they’re really dangerous when they do play together. Whey they’re running the ball, they’re very good.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK