In what has to be the most petty, pathetic response to losing a player they had every chance to hold onto to another club, the Wests Tigers have threatened to stop spending money developing players unless then NRL steps in and starts paying clubs money when they lose players.
One half of this Wests Tigers joint venture is on the verge of being bankrupt, and only survives thanks to loans handed to them by the National Rugby League. It is a club that has in the past been more than happy to sign players developed at other clubs.
Now that the Wests Tigers either choose to, or were unable to, offer James Tedesco enough money to stay, they are spitting their dummy out in a reaction that shows how clubs care about very little but themselves.
How should the youngsters in the Balmain and Western Suburbs junior competitions feel about hearing the Wests Tigers makes these threats? Why should any young player commit to a club that is so quick to threaten to turn their back on young Rugby League players that aspire to play for them?
The Canberra Raiders have lost a number of very good players they developed to other clubs. It is nothing new in the NRL. Pretty much every team in the NRL can point to one or two very good players they developed and who left for more money or a better opportunity to play elsewhere. The Wests Tigers aren’t special in that regard.
The fact of the matter is, if the Wests Tigers really wanted to make a better offer to James Tedesco, they would have. They would have cleared some salary cap space as a number of other clubs do on a regular basis to accommodate highly paid signings. The Tigers chose to not match the Raiders offer to Tedesco. It has upset their fan base and instead of fronting up to the fans and explaining the situation they have tossed up this ridiculous threat to cut junior funding.
Hopefully the NRL’s new annual grant system the pays clubs on a sliding scale depending on certain goals they are set takes into account junior funding above all else. Junior funding is critical to the health of the game, not just in Australia, but in most parts of the Rugby League playing world.
The Wests Tigers need to sit down and have a good look at themselves at some point. They can’t keep claiming that every stupid move, and every stupid comment is just a misunderstanding.
If the Wests Tigers want to hold onto the best junior players they develeop, they should start paying them what they are worth. They’ve lost james Tedesco, and you can be sure that 15 NRL clubs are lining up to make the same thing happen when Luke Brooks comes off of contract.
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