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Aussie Player Exodus

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
How broad can it be though?

We are already at a place where most of the state based under 19 and 20 teams aren't going to end up getting professional contracts and some of our under 20s national side won't end up with a professional career in Australia.

In Dolly's case, when did his play start to elevate him to the next level? He made regional rep sides as a kid but nothing beyond that. He was at all those state championships though so people got a decent look at him.

He was in the UK for 4 years before making his Premiership rugby debut (this year). If we had 100 additional contracts we could hand out to 17 year olds here, there's no doubt we'd capture a lot of players like this.
 

The Nomad

Colin Windon (37)
Talent identification can be difficult to always get right when you consider how some lads mature at different stages/ages within their development.

You also have the issue of the identification being somewhat subjective.

As an example, there was a young fella up here in Brisbane called Gideon Wrampling who's family moved over from NZ when he was about 10/11 years old. Went to Brisbane State High , made a heap of junior rep teams along the way , played First XV as a 16 year old in 2017 ( same team as Jordan Petaia ) and got selected for Reds White( 2nd's) U16 team that played the National U16 Champs at TSS that year. Was always a good player, but never a super star and played second fiddle to a few other centres/ outside backs along the way, similar in some ways to how Josh Flook did.

He moved back to NZ at the end of 2017 to do the final two years of school over there and played NZ Schoolboys in his first year back and again the following year , now part of the Chief's Academy. Spoke to his dad when they were first back over here with NZ Schoolboys in 2018 and he said the NZ coaches said we were just using him wrong and that they had developed a skill set that he always had but hadn't been utilized by our coaches.

Basically same kid , just seen and developed differently by coaches.

His father took him back to NZ because he didn't think he would make it as rugby player if he stayed and trusted the NZ system to get the most out of him.
 

Wilson

Jim Lenehan (48)
How broad can it be though?

We are already at a place where most of the state based under 19 and 20 teams aren't going to end up getting professional contracts and some of our under 20s national side won't end up with a professional career in Australia.

In Dolly's case, when did his play start to elevate him to the next level? He made regional rep sides as a kid but nothing beyond that. He was at all those state championships though so people got a decent look at him.

He was in the UK for 4 years before making his Premiership rugby debut (this year). If we had 100 additional contracts we could hand out to 17 year olds here, there's no doubt we'd capture a lot of players like this.
Honestly, I think about one team more at the around that end of school level for NSW/QLD is a good mark to consider, that than sees it condense down to 2 as they hit 20s, the same mark where players start to move to Melbourne/Canberra/Perth to fill the gaps they have in talent production. Obviously we can't just keep making it bigger and handing out more contracts, but I do think we need to look at broadening the current structure. By all accounts there is an in flux of money on the horizon from PE, the lions tour and potential home world cup, now is the time to be identifying what these pathways ideally look like so we can actually take advantage of that funding,

In Dolly's case he may not have made a prem rugby debut until this year, but he was signed by Sale 4 years ago, so clearly they saw something NSW/Australia didn't.
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
He moved back to NZ at the end of 2017 to do the final two years of school over there and played NZ Schoolboys in his first year back and again the following year , now part of the Chief's Academy. Spoke to his dad when they were first back over here with NZ Schoolboys in 2018 and he said the NZ coaches said we were just using him wrong and that they had developed a skill set that he always had but hadn't been utilized by our coaches.

Basically same kid , just seen and developed differently by coaches.

His father took him back to NZ because he didn't think he would make it as rugby player if he stayed and trusted the NZ system to get the most out of him.

Undoubtedly I think NZ has better coaches and that makes a huge difference.

Did this kid have greater potential than the kids he was sitting behind in Qld or was it just a case of the talent identification being fine but that doesn't mean that the guys just outside that don't have enough potential to make it as a professional player.

I guess the challenge would be whether those NZ coaches and schoolboys selectors would have chosen him ahead of Petaia and Flook if they'd had the choice between all three.
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
In Dolly's case he may not have made a prem rugby debut until this year, but he was signed by Sale 4 years ago, so clearly they saw something NSW/Australia didn't.

This is surely a reflection of their being the UK Premiership, the RFU Championship and then div 2 which still contains professional players (to a certain degree).

As I said above, they're probably handing out 100 more contracts to kids this age each year than we are.
 

Wilson

Jim Lenehan (48)
This is surely a reflection of their being the UK Premiership, the RFU Championship and then div 2 which still contains professional players (to a certain degree).

As I said above, they're probably handing out 100 more contracts to kids this age each year than we are.
Sure, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking at a situation like this and working out how we can do better in the future. To be clear I don;t see missing out on Dolly as a failure of the system in NSW or Australia, just as an example of where it could be improved.
 

The Nomad

Colin Windon (37)
Undoubtedly I think NZ has better coaches and that makes a huge difference.

Did this kid have greater potential than the kids he was sitting behind in Qld or was it just a case of the talent identification being fine but that doesn't mean that the guys just outside that don't have enough potential to make it as a professional player.

I guess the challenge would be whether those NZ coaches and schoolboys selectors would have chosen him ahead of Petaia and Flook if they'd had the choice between all three.
He and Flook are a very similar story , both identified through the pathways , both played Reds U16 White in the same team. Flook played Qld 2 as a schoolboy and didn’t make higher honours that year , but captained both the Reds and Aussie U18’s the following year in his first year out of school. They actually opposed one another in the game played in Hamilton in 2019 won by the Aussie U18’s.

Basically both were overlooked at an U16 level and Josh in Schoolboys for other options . Both were promoted quickly under different coaches. Guess that’s my point , it’s somewhat subjective.

Petaia was a year older and played Australian Schoolboys the same year Flook and Wrampling were in the U16’s .
 

Rugbynutter39

Steve Williams (59)
He was in junior rep teams but was seemingly out of the system at the end of high school.

It doesn't seem like he played a single game of adult rugby in Australia from what I can see.
I am fine missing out on him as can’t catch them all and I don’t know if that miffed he ends up playing for England.
 

Drew

Dave Cowper (27)
Brooklyn Hardaker off to join Hoiles at the Giltinis. Not the biggest of names, but was doing some freakish stuff at Randwick and was close to a 7s call up before injuring his knee this year.
 

PhilClinton

John Solomon (38)
I have no problem with players going to MLR. If they are any chop in a professional program Frier and Hoiles will let DC know.

The ‘dangerous’ thing about MLR though, is to my knowledge their good players get paid around the same as a mid-level Aussie super player, but the contract is only for 6 months.

Which means the players can find alternative employment for the other 6 months or have half a year off before the next season, but still be paid a full salary.

That may change as the comp grows and becomes legitimate, but it must be fairly appealing to guys who are fringe Super level.
 

RebelYell

Phil Hardcastle (33)
The ‘dangerous’ thing about MLR though, is to my knowledge their good players get paid around the same as a mid-level Aussie super player, but the contract is only for 6 months.

Which means the players can find alternative employment for the other 6 months or have half a year off before the next season, but still be paid a full salary.

That may change as the comp grows and becomes legitimate, but it must be fairly appealing to guys who are fringe Super level.
Yeah they can get around 50k AUD and accom and a couple of flights - and then if they supplement it with an NPC deal they can push six figures - but that's close to the ceiling at this point so if a young player goes over there and plays really well, they'd then be looking elsewhere (AU, Japan or Europe) to boost earning capacity. As opposed to fulltime EPS contracts in AU being around the same amount for 12 mths
 

PhilClinton

John Solomon (38)
Yeah they can get around 50k AUD and accom and a couple of flights - and then if they supplement it with an NPC deal they can push six figures - but that's close to the ceiling at this point so if a young player goes over there and plays really well, they'd then be looking elsewhere (AU, Japan or Europe) to boost earning capacity. As opposed to fulltime EPS contracts in AU being around the same amount for 12 mths

Yes and it is far more appealing for a 20 something bloke playing 1st grade to go and get paid in California, rather than train three times a week in Brisbane and work at Grill'd on the weekends. The MLR have found a sweet spot currently with their target market and contract offering for Australians.

If you look at the current crop of Aussie's they have, it is only a small handful of proper SR quality players, and mostly blokes who were missing out on even the development contracts, but were still handy, i.e. NRC standard
 

Rugbynutter39

Steve Williams (59)
Brooklyn Hardaker off to join Hoiles at the Giltinis. Not the biggest of names, but was doing some freakish stuff at Randwick and was close to a 7s call up before injuring his knee this year.
Way to progress interim step up beyond club rugby. I think if we have young players getting gigs at mlr that is good as keeps them in the game, chance to develop at level higher then club rugby and in a full time pro environment and if they do well can be lured back as they are not exactly on big money.
 
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