Imagine having to make a million dollar decision about your entire career at the age of 21.
For some people that decision would be difficult at the best of times. For others it would feel almost overwhelming.
Over the last few seasons we have seen a number of younger players in the game make big decisions in which they took the most money on offer. Most of the time that is great, it sets a player up for life. Too often though we are seeing players regret the decisions they have made, and that makes me wonder about the people around them and the advice they have been getting.
A player manager will always push a player to take the most money on offer. That isn’t a bad thing, that is their job. The more a player earns, the more a player manager earns. No player manager is ever told to go out and get a player 80% of what they can possibly earn on the open market. It just doesn’t happen.
Players need people they can trust and who they respect to help them make some of the biggest decisions of their lives.
For James Tedesco, he obviously regretted signing with the Canberra Raiders as soon as the ink dried on his contract. The extra money he signed for didn’t make the decision any better over the next 48 hours.
He sat down and talked with his club captain in Robbie Farah, as well as others he respected, and reportedly broke down in front of his captain when talking about his wish to remain a Wests Tiger.
To get to that point says to me this is a young bloke that has been under pressure to make a decision he wasn’t ready to make. I question why those closest to him did now realize Tedesco wasn’t ready to leave the Wests Tigers.
Sure a player needs to take responsibility for their actions and their decisions, but everyone needs a good support system around them.
I can tell you that at the age of 21, and with the money being thrown at some of these young players, I’d have been nothing short of a train wreck. I joke with friends that I wouldn’t have lasted 6 months earning the type of money Tedesco was reported to have been offered by the Raiders. Hell give me that money now and I’d be odds on to not make it through a year!
These younger players need better leadership around them. Its not about pressuring players to make a decision, its about making sure they make a decision when they are ready to, and that they make decisions they are comfortable with.