Few things piss me off more than talking about loyalty in Rugby League.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these idiots that talks about “the good old days” when players apparently didn’t switch clubs. I get pissed off because people talk about loyalty and for the most part, they are all a bunch of hypocrites!
Take the latest saga involving Craig Fitzgibbon.
Fitzgibbon looked to be finished until this season when he has found some good form and is one of the players benefiting most from the reduced number of interchanges allowed. Sure, he isn’t playing up to representative levels any more, you can;t expect that, but he is playing very well for the Roosters.
Despite this, the club is pushing him out the door, claiming there just isn’t enough room under the salary cap to afford him.
What a steaming load of bullshit!
If the Roosters wanted Fitzgibbon, they would re-sign him, its that simple. Hell, this is the same club that just a few months ago, and salary capped out, managed to make enough space to fit Willie Masons whopping contract on their books!
The fact of the matter is, the Roosters would rather sign other players than keep Fitzgibbon, but instead of just saying as much, they are claiming to have their hands tied due to the salary cap.
Fitzgibbon has stated that, if the Roosters don’t re-sign him, he will probably just retire as he can not see himself playing for another club.
This once again infuriates me!
I have no problems with a player wanting to play for a club, but I see no sense in cutting short your career, doing something you love, just because someone tells you they don’t want you any more.
You only live once and a Rugby League career is a very small part of that life. Players should look to play for as long as they possibly can and enjoy every moment, not cut this short just because the team you’re playing with wants to discard you after years of great service.
The next player you’ll see this happen to is Steve Menzies at Manly.
A truly loyal player. he could have earned so much more playing elsewhere. Hell, he even stuck by the club during the ridiculous Northern Eagles phase.
A veteran of over 300 games, one of the games greatest ever try scorers, a player who, despite his age, is showing he can play in the back row and the centers…..and Manly will tell him they don’t have the money to re-sign him simply because they would rather sign other younger players instead.
Keep in mind, when they tell Beaver there is no money for him, this is the same club that was offering Todd Carney a stack of cash to play for them next season. They have more than enough money.
Menzies is unlikely to play for another club, which is a real shame. He has a whole lot to offer, he would get a reasonable contract at a number of clubs, he would be a great leader to bring into ANY team and just on ability alone, he would be a great addition for any side.
A few weeks ago Sonny Bill Williams said on the Footy Show that one thing he will do when his next contract is up is put himself and his family well ahead of the concerns of the club. Thats upset some people, but its the way to go.
Clubs like to use the word loyalty, they will get old players to talk to current stars and talk about being loyal and convince them to take less money for the privilege to play for the club.
However when the time is right, they will discard a player at the drop of a hat, they will blame the salary cap and then go and sign a bunch of other players from other clubs as replacements.
Players like Fitzgibbon and Menzies should remember that. If a young bloke like Sonny Bill Williams already knows how this all works, two veterans like them should know as well.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com