Adam Everitt: Hetherington Stabs England In The Back In Favour Of Personal Gain

Gary Hetherington is a complete moron. There, I said it. And this quote from him is why.

“The increase in the NRL’s salary cap, the current exchange rate and various changes made by the government are going to make it very, very difficult to attract top-quality, international standard overseas players,” Hetherington said.

The Yorkshire Post said he was predicting this. Way to go, predicting the obvious much add credibility to the claim now!

Only two players of “international standard” immediately come to mind when I think about the amount of Australian and New Zealand players who have come over in recent times: Thomas Leuluai of Wigan, and Greg Eastwood who played for Leeds. Why? They are both currently Kiwi international players.

So where have all the “top-quality” overseas players been hiding then, Gary?

Billy Slater and Cameron Smith have been found sheltering in Melbourne, Greg Inglis was under Russell Crowe’s desk in South Sydney and Darren Lockyer was out catching the waves in surfer’s paradise! Super League has only attracted two world class players: Jamie Lyon, who was unbelievable for St Helens, and Andrew ‘Joey’ Johns, who had a short stint with Warrington.

We had some excellent players plying their trade here in 2011, like Matt King, Michael and Joel Monaghan, George Carmont, and Danny Buderus. All good players who have been brilliant to watch this season. But are they now all “top-quality, international standard overseas players” that Gary has been alluding to? No.

Now the Leeds Rhinos’ Chief Executive plans to fly down under in 2012 and search out decent young Australian talent. Now, if you’re a promising young Enlish player, like Luke Briscoe, perhaps, and you sign for Leeds only then to find out that your club’s hierarchy are planning this, how would you react?

Gary said, “We’ll still get players like Danny Buderus, who wanted to come with his family to experience the culture and lifestyle over here. We still need and want players like that, but – for the moment at least – we will no longer be able to compete with NRL clubs for their top players.”

Gary, shut up! Super League has never been able to compete for their top players. It seems to one that Hetherington is simply after the ‘filler’ type of Aussie player, and that is likely to be what he gets if he brings back a load of average junior Aussie players with him.

In 2013 the NRL, as previously mentioned on this website, stands to make around $250m-a-year in broadcasting deals, another franchise are likely to be entered into the competition and around 80 new roster spots will be made available for the soon-to-be 19 league members. These ‘top-quality, international standard overseas players’ will then have no reason to come over, Gary. Hell, they will soon have no reason to consider Union either!

And if he thinks he can match the $55k minimum contract for rookie players, he needs his head testing. The onus for Super League clubs must be to further develop quality young players now, because the chances are that the NRL will come hunting for what top quality players we actually have – and that isn’t many. We’d be lucky to fill a 5-a-side team to be honest!

But, I understand Hetherington has to do what is right by Leeds. I know he wants his club to be successful. I also know that their development programme is one of the best in the league and that they are also planting seeds in the south west of England, an area virtually untouched by Rugby League. But what Hetherington is now saying is that the NRL are going to get rich and we won’t be able to attract players of a very high standard so we’ll have to make do with kids who just don’t make the grade down under.

Is that what you want for your future Super League?

Liked it? Take a second to support League Freak on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Reply