On the weekend Gareth Thomas played his first Super League game since switching codes from Rugby Union.
As a 35 year old Rugby Union player, there expectations were not high at all. In the whole world there are maybe a dozen people that could play in Super League at 35+ years of age, and all of those people have played Rugby League their entire lives.
However, we have spent the last couple of months hearing how much Thomas watches Rugby League. How keen he was to learn the game. Even how he had played the game when younger.
Anyone watching the 30 minutes he managed to play before being taken from the field would tell you, this bloke had no idea what he was getting himself into.
In his first tackle he was knocked senseless. There was nothing special about the tackle, but it was very early in the game and your expectations changed.
You went from wanting to see how this guy went, to being worried for his safety.
In every run he made, he put his head down, ambled up to the defensive line, and was tackled with ease.
In defense he wasn’t tested, shockingly. I don’t know if someone had a quiet word in the ear of the Catalan Dragons, but they did not kick his way at all.
Maybe they felt they had a duty of care.
And this is what this article is all about.
I know the Crusaders want publicity, and no doubt Thomas has brought them that. Forgetting his age for a moment, what I saw was a guy who had little to no coaching, little to no guidance and little to no idea of what he could expect in his first game playing a new sport.
The way he ran the ball was dangerous. It was the way he ran the ball when ever he got it. It makes you wonder if he actually took part in any actually game simulation during the last few weeks because any coach worth anything would stop the game and have addressed that immediately.
If he runs like that and even cops a solid tackle, he will live the rest of his life in a wheel chair. That is what we are talking about here.
This bloke is 35 years old, has had no coaching, he has no idea what he should be doing or what he is in for.
If he gets seriously injured, I have to wonder how liable the club itself will be. They have put this old man into this situation and he is going to get hurt.
Lets hope for the sake of his health, 30 minutes was enough for him to go back to an easier sport to play.
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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