When the Canterbury Bulldogs named their squad for the 2014 Auckland 9’s the first thing I thought about was Des Hasler telling some NRL official that he doesn’t care one little bit about winning the Auckland 9’s.
The Bulldogs are not the only team to not quite put their best foot forward for the Auckland 9’s, but they probably are the most guilty of sending the bare minimum of talent needed to avoid getting told off by the NRL and Auckland 9’s organisers.
When I said yesterday that I felt they had named the worst Auckland 9’s team of any of the 16 NRL clubs taking part in the competition, some Bulldogs fans got angry at me. I think they read a little too much into my comment. They back ended an entire story based on one sentence.
When it comes it naming a squad for the Auckland 9’s I think it it up to each individual club to decide which direction to go on. Do you go all out, name your best team and really go after the prize money on offer, or do you name a weaker lineup and just concentrate on the upcoming NRL season.
I won’t judge a club for a second if they decide to go one way or the other. If fine with either decision a club makes.
You can see the clubs that are taking the tournament more seriously than others. Supporters of those club are pretty excited at the thought that their team is one of the favourites to take out the title.
I tend to think the Auckland 9’s will be a bit of a lottery. I wouldn’t be shocked if we even saw the Bulldogs win the competition! Still, there are supporters out there that will gauge the performance of the team, and their personal interest in the tournament, on how many first grade players their club has named.
I can see where a Bulldogs fan that is heading over to Auckland might be a little disappointed that more of their stars weren’t named. There is even talk that Des Hasler won’t be flying over to coach the side during the competition.
No doubt the Bulldogs factored all of that into their final decision when naming the squad. As a club, they have every right to go after the Auckland 9’s title, or focus on the premiership season ahead.
I know one thing for certain. If the Bulldogs win the Grand Final in 2014, not a single one of their fans will care about how they did in the Auckland 9’s.
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
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