You Can Not Allow A Top Class A Halfback To Leave Your Club

Mid way through the 2011 NRL season Chris Sandow signed a massive contract to play for the Parramatta Eels that come under fire by a lot of people who said he simply wasn’t worth it. At the time I wrote an article saying Chris Sandow IS Worth It.

On the weekend Brad Fittler was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying that the importance of a halfback to a club meant that the salaries halfbacks will start to earn will skyrocket over the next few years and we will see them taking up a large proportion of the salary cap.

Today, James Maloney has signed a contract to play for the Sydney Roosters from 2013. The size of that contract has not been disclosed.

I’ve said today that the Warriors were utterly stupid for allowing yet another asset to leave the club. Maloney just took the Warriors to a Grand Final. He is being talked about as a possible State Of Origin player for New South Wales. This is a young bloke who, conservatively, has proven he can perform the most important role at a club at first grade level.

You do not allow players like that to leave a club. You pay them to stay. If needed, you pay overs for them.

Look at Parramatta. When they signed Sandow for $500,000+ plenty of people thought it was a crazy amount of money. Now, considering how good a player he is and his age, it seems like a pretty reasonable deal. Especially when you consider how the salary cap is about to jump and that the Eels haven’t had a decent halfback since Peter Sterling needed a comb.

I could not believe South Sydney let Sandow leave. They had to keep him. Thats it! End of! They HAD to!

When you let a good halfback leave your club, every season of their careers becomes a lost season for your club.

When Jonathan Thurston was a youngster playing for the Bulldogs, he was offered a lot of money to head up north and play for the Cowboys. It was a big deal at the time and the Bulldogs weren’t about to pay that much money for a bloke who had a few defensive issues and was a little injury prone.

Can you imagine how different the Bulldogs Premiership prospects would have been over the last few years if they had just paid Thurston what he is worth and held onto him? I would go as far as to say they most likely would have won a Grand Final if he had stayed.

The Panthers are another club that let a good young halfback go, when they didn’t even offer Peter Wallace a contract. He ended up signing with the Brisbane Broncos and went on to play for NSW. Penrith meanwhile continued to struggle.

Now, the Panthers are lucky, they ended up signing Luke Walsh who is a very good young halfback. Still, you have to wonder what position they would be in right now if Walsh had Wallace playing outside him at five-eigth, a position I think he is a little more suited to anyway.

If you look back over the history of the game, there are very few top class halfback that are allowed to leave a club.

Only the Melbourne Storm have ever really managed to get past a halfback leaving, and they did it twice!

When Brett Kimmorley left, Matt Orford stepped into his shoes. When Matt Orford left, Cooper Cronk stepped into HIS shoes. They were both big losses, but lets face it, the Storms production line of talent, in the modern salary cap era, is incredible.

Times are changing, and the depth in talent in the NRL will make players more expendable then they used to be. Still, a player who has proven they “Get it”, that they can perform at halfback in the NRL, they will always be the most important players at any clubs.

You don’t let those players go. You pay them. If they want to leave, you offer them enough money that it becomes a ridiculous prospect to leave.

That’s it! No arguments!

So to those Warriors fans that say they couldn’t have offer enough money to Maloney, ask yourself this. In 2013, would you rather be over paying Maloney, or would you rather be paying Thomas Leuluai money to come back from Super League, and Manu Vatuvei money to get injured in between having catastrophic, game losing performance?

The Warriors should have paid overs to keep Maloney.

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