In the lead up to the International Origin match between some English players, Rangi Chase, and a bunch of old Super League imports, England fullback Sam Tomkins has fired a broadside at Super League imports:
“They will want to prove they’re the players that make the competition, the overseas players that come over and sign massive contracts and take money off young English lads who are trying to make a living,”
Its a big statement and one I don’t disagree with. I’ve been saying for a number of years now that Super League teams target imports rather than developing English players…but there is a reason they do that that Tomkins didn’t mention…
Very few English players in the game today develop into top player. The type of players you can build around and rely upon.
When a Super League team buys an import, they know what they are getting for the most part. They know that if a player turns up ready to play, they will get a very good professional player who will be a featured player in their lineup.
All of better English players in Super League all tend to head towards playing for a few select clubs. While the salary cap is supposed to help equalize talent across the competition, it doesn’t stop Wigan, Leeds, Warrington and St Helens from getting an English Super League player they want from other clubs.
You don’t have that problem with imports. You don’t have to worry that you are investing years of junior coaching into an import only to see another clubs sign them from you when they feel like it.
If you do lose an import, you just buy another one. If you look at the Man Of Steel award winners over the years, it shows that imports do pretty well in Super League!
Some are suggesting that Tomkins comments will fire up the Exiles team, but I doubt they will. The Exiles are an old side full of players who have the vast majority of their careers behind them. You don’t go to Super League if you feel you want to prove something. Most of these players will not have any issues with what Tomkins has said.
It is interesting though that Tomkins wants to play in the NRL and take the place of two very good young fullbacks at the New Zealand Warriors though…
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