Ive been supportive of the Celtic Crusaders and the push to fast track them into Super League.
Rugby League needed a professional club in Wales in 1995. If the powers that be had used their brains at that time and get things going back then we’d probably have more expansion clubs and Super League would be ridiculously strong.
The problem is that around that time, Super League was kicking in, and the only thing people in the game at that point cared about was lining their own pockets.
Imagine if the money sunk into dumps like Salford, Wakefield, Halifax, Sheffield and the like at that time went into expansion clubs!
Anyway, back to 2009, the Crusaders ran out in their first Super League game against Leeds, and boy, it was disappointing.
Yes its great Wales are now part of the competition and the structure of the club itself is great.
The problem is someone along the way forgot that a footy team needs a team of footy players, and its seems the Crusaders just filled out their roster with crap.
Sure they didn’t have long to get ready and that means they couldn’t play ahead. But honestly, Darren Mapp, Adam Peak, Mark Bryant and Ryan O’Hara?
It all smells of someone, an Aussie, being given a lot of responsibility for building the club, going out and not being able to get the big Aussie names they wanted, then just taking any fringe reserve grader at the end of their NRL career they can find.
The thing the Crusaders should have been doing is going after the younger English players around Super League who can’t get a run elsewhere because of imports.
Why couldn’t the Crusaders looked at someone like Matt Diskin instead of Lincoln Withers. Diskin can still get it done at Super League level and his club decided to shit in his face and sign a replacement for him, while at the same time basically telling him his career is in limbo until such time as Buderus retires.
There are players like Diskin right around Super League, players that can get the job done, who have proven themselves, but who’s career just gets stopped dead when their current club goes out and buys an old NRL player.
They are the players that the Crusaders should have been stockpiling, not Aussies who’s future looked to be in the Queensland Cup or for some bush team!
It smells to me of a team that was built by someone who didn’t really know the British game. A club that hadn’t been scouting British talent, who hadn’t been actively perusing the best young talent in the game and who, at the end of the day, is just being lazy and going for the easy option.
It doesn’t sit well with me, I don’t like the idea that a club has come into Super League un prepared on the field, especially after all the hard work that was done to get them from a pub team to a Super League club.
It is something the RFL needs to think about the next time they award a club a Super League license. Any new team needs time to get the right people in place, they need a longer commitment before they enter Super League and they need some sort of help to build a decent squad, whether that be temporary salary cap discounts or even having some kind of expansion draft.
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Aug 28, 2020 0