>On the whole well said - I can't argue - but how do we improve?
>Certainly not by knocking the big clubs. We need more support for the
>rest of the SL and 1st division. more encouragement to develop players
>rather than buying - perhaps an expemtion of a players salary from the
>calculations of salary capping if he has come up through the ranks at
>a club. EG at Wigan, Edwards, Farrell Radlinski and Smyth (as a few
>examples) NOT counted in the salary cap, but Robinson, Tuigamala,
>Offiah, Conolly etc included that way we encourage home grown players.
>It is all too easy for a club to sign a mega stand off, but it does
>NOTHING for the national side if he is foreign!
Absoultely spot on, now I know I might pull a little flak here for
sounding a little xenophobic but I feel there is only one solution to
Get rid of the foreign players.
Now before you all start screaming through your modems about how foreign
players have enriched our game and how they make up for a general lack
of talent within the league just hear me out on a couple of points.
1. Consider this formula:
Top quality Ozzy or Kiwi + ***British Coach + ***British Facilities
= Top quality Ozzy or Kiwi deciding after a couple of games of busting a
gut to cop a free ride with the rest of his teammates.
= Waste of money.
Now don't get me wrong because if I was in their situation I would probably
do exactly the same.
2. The reason why we don't have a conveyor belt of top class youngsters coming
through in this country is because of what I can only describe as being DIABOLICAL
coaching standards at the junior grades. From young amateurs right up to the
For far too long clubs have bent over backwards trying to sign top class Aussie
coaches in an effort to bring success to their sides and yet they pay little to
no attention to the standard of coaching throughout the Academy and Alliance sides.
In 1991 I was quite heavily involved with a local amateur side and I decided that
it would be a interesting idea if I took up a couple of courses which the RFL were
running as part of their national coaching scheme. The same courses which they
were advertising in local RL magazines recently.
I funded myself through the Level I and II courses which at the time meant I was
in effect qualified to coach an Amateur League side.
The courses were held at Widnes RU ground (??), Warren Ayres and Dennis McQue (Ex Widnes) were
the lecturers and alongside me were at least 20 others including John Pendlebury (Wigan) and
John Kear made a brief visit just to show his face and we all toddled off onto the pitch
eager to become the new John Monie :)
Now I could go on until next week explaining what we went though in those two courses but
suffice to say that I and most of the others in group left at the end totally bewildered.
We learned absoultely NOTHING, well apart from such noted training techniques such as:
Always make sure when conducting a training session that you are facing the sun cos
if it's the other way round the kiddies might get distracted.
Always make sure that you leave the field with the same amount of equipment which you came
on with, we wouldn't want the clubs to get sued because somebody tripped over a tackling
The list is endless, now some of you may think that these points are very important aspects
of coaching but when I tell you that the total amount of time spent on tackling technique,
ball handling skills and other basic RL requirements lasted all of 1 hour in a 6 hour schedule
you might start to get the picture.
Accompanying literature - NONE.
End result, two pieces of paper which say I can go out and take on the world!
(Both of which got lost in the post and arrived 6 weeks late)
Now I don't know about you but I would be slightly worried if somebody with this
experience was charged with task of developing RL's stars of tomorrow.
Every Sunday morning I try to get down to a local team just to watch the youngsters and
do you know I feel like crying.
I see kids out there aged 14-16 who look like world beaters, kids who could give the Ricky
Stuarts and the Bradley Clyde's of this world a pasting they would never forget.
Then I move along to a nearby pitch and I see the 14-16 year olds from 6 years ago playing
in the open age getting the shit kicked out of them with their coach saying to me "Ahhh yes
that boy Billy he was a great player until the pros got hold of him and ruined him"
Believe me there are THOUSANDS of these players.
The Academy and Alliance sides are nothing short of a joke these days, young players and are
exploited to the full and are chewed up and spat out without ever been given a chance by
coaches who in my opinion would not know how to bring on a good youngster if they tried.
They must either sink or swim, and people who are prepared to give up their time to coach
these kids in the fundamentals of RL are few and far between.
The kids who do make it face life in an A-team competion which is sub-standard to say the
least and when they do make the jump into the first team squad they are like a fish out
This is the age we should be targetting, bringing in Aussie coaches won't make spit
difference if the players can't be coached out of bad habits which they picked up at
an early age.
In Australia kids as young as 14 are FULLY converscent with all aspects of the game, they
can all pass, tackle, run, kick and have a completely professional attitude whilst over
hear most players aged twenty would struggle to meet the above criteria and once players
get past that learning age of 14-18 it becomes very very difficult to re-educate them
Why bother spending fortunes on foreign superstars when we have them sat right here under
our very noses.
Rugby League stands accused of wasting it's most valuable commodity and in my opinion it
must be found GUILTY on all counts.
Geff Foster |"The Zone
St. Helens, Merseyside | of it's own"