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Aussie Player Exodus


Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
This is a simple fix. The ARU should stop offering contracts. You shouldn't have a contract to play for your country. It's stupid. Play them in match fees and nothing more. Most sports don't do it and stupid that the ARU does.

Most sports aren't structured like rugby in Oz. Cricket is and they have national contracts. League doesn't sure, but they barely have a national team. Likewise football, whose best players are basically all overseas getting better preparation (and money) than they could here.


Will Genia (78)
Staff member
I think people just need to be wary that introducing a system like this won't necessarily just provide lots of extra revenue for Australian teams with no downsides.

If it resulted in Australian clubs being a bit wealthier, but far more of our best players playing overseas and the ARU having to select a Wallaby team that includes a lot of foreign based players as a result to remain competitive, would Australian rugby and Australian rugby fans be in a better position?


I think there are plenty of downsides, i just don't think it would cause an exodus of players that some on here suggested...

All in all, i think the current contracting process works very well, given the limited playing pool and revenue the ARU does quite a good job at retaining top Wallabies...

Australian Rugby doesn't lose many of its A-Class players, its the B-Class players who aren't eligible for a Wallaby top-up and face strong competition in their positions who typically head overseas.

Yes guys like Giteau, Mitchell, Vickerman all left whilst they had a few years left on their careers, but overall core players like Palu, Moore, Horwill, Genia, Quade, Beale, Pocock, Higgers etc have all been retained.


Peter Fenwicke (45)
This is a simple fix. The ARU should stop offering contracts. You shouldn't have a contract to play for your country. It's stupid. Play them in match fees and nothing more. Most sports don't do it and stupid that the ARU does.

The A-League is one of the worst leagues in the world. I was talking to a prominent English journalist who was out here recently and asked in what he thought of the A-League and his reply was "it's like league 2 but with less running." League 2 being the lowest professional league in England (about 90 odd teams from the top). Too get a million dollars for half that squad is a correct valuation. It is money rather then nothing.

I wouldn't expect Australian Rugby to end up like the A-League as you produce much higher quality Rugby players than you do footballers. A better point of reference in football would be South America where a high proportion of the world's top players are developed, spend much of their career in Europe and return at the tail ends of their careers.

The Messi situation will never happen again. Barcelona have a transfer ban imposed by FIFA due to breaking under age laws. You can't sign players from outside the EU under the age of 18. We'll see less and less of this type of situation happening.

Messi's situation was unique, but it's my understanding that he's not 1 of the 10 players for which Barcelona are under investigation for. Most big European clubs get around the FIFA regulation by having feeder clubs who will sign the player locally prior to him being 18 then the parent club pays a nominal fee for the player.

For other players they point to the FIFA regulations and tell the kids parents that they can't sign him when he's under 18 and they suggest that his parents read the regulations carefully. Upon reading the regulations the parents then discover that if they move there for non-footballing reasons then they can sign with the club.

Barca's ban is justified because they've been breaching the rules for a very long time and the Spanish FA have looked the other way. However I wouldn't take their 2 window ban and a paultry fine (for them at least) of half a million Euros as a sign that there'll never be another U-18 from outside of the EU in the Barca academy.Barca will just be smarter about it in the future.

Also big clubs tend to be able to get their punishments reduced once the lawyers get involved and I wouldn't be surprised if Barca do the same.

It's not about profit it's about sustainability, rarely any team in any sport is profitable, only players, coaches/managers or agent. Big clubs have used the transfer system to help them process/sustain.

Not making a profit is not sustainable in the long term for any business. At the moment teams in Australia have to be propped up by the ARU.

Manchester United - Selling Ronaldo keep the team balance the books and sustain a high level for future years (showing signs of falling are appearing now). Even being the most commercially successful side in the world with all the money TV revenue can provide the still have $$ problems.

The Ronaldo transfer was one of Europe's elite selling their top player to another of Europe's elite. No money or top player move outside of Europe in this deal.

Spurs - Sold Bale for record fee, managed to buy half a new team (would have been more of a success if they brought the players they where recommended to buy but didn't), But kept them close to the top of the league. If there wasn't a system in place for Bale to leave midway through his contract, they wouldn't have had him for as long and been left with nothing.

80% of the money that Tottenham got from Gareth Bale was spent buying players from other European clubs. Spurs signed Bale for a fee of £7 million pounds from a smaller club and then sold him on for £80 million to real.

Tottenham are one of England's top 8 clubs and are at the top of the domestic transfer system so they reap more benefit than most clubs do.

Arsenal - who managed to pay off a huge % of their 60k stadium through smart transfers (buy young players for cheap, turning into professionals and making a massive profit. Biggest being Cesc Fabregas who was brought for next to nothing and sold for 40mil. They did this will about 8 players, turning over huge profit. Arsenal are considered to be the best club in the world when it comes to business. One of the only clubs that consistently turn profit. Recently brought one of the best players in the world, Ozil.

Arsenal are a club I greatly admire due to their financial prudence. But they are a very rare gem among Europe's elite. Also a majority of the club's fans blame their lack of trophy's in the last 9 years on their refusal to spend big in the transfer market.

But again Arsenal are one of Europe's elite clubs who benefit most from the transfer system.

Newcastle - Sold Andy Carroll to Liverpool for $36mil. Brought a 5-6 players with the profits and the qualified for the Europa League

Newcastle are owned by a billionaire but still can't compete financially with the top clubs in the transfer market. They're an enormous club but they still have to sell their best players to fund incoming transfers. They would also be considered one of the Premiership's top 8 clubs for whom the transfer system works best.

Southampton - Have a fantastic youth system. Have developed the likes of Bale, Walcott , Chamberlin, Oxlade-chamberlain to bigger clubs for fees. This has helped them get promoted to the Premier League, where they get a lot of TV money helping them become more stable. The transfer modal has been very helpful to them.
Selling there players helped them to keep the club going to move into a more profitable position.

This is the same Southampton who were relegated when they went into administration in 2009 and also handed a 10 point deduction. That's despite having to sell Bale to Tottenham to keep the wolf from the door. They were due to get a total of £10 million pounds for Bale but the fee was reduced to £7 million as they needed the money faster. I wouldn't call that sustainable.

Also Walcott move to Arsenal before Southampton went into administration for a potential fee of £12 million. But again due to Southampton's financial position this was reduced to just over £9 million.

But still the money wasn't enough to save Southampton financially.

All of these examples involve clubs at the top of the English or European game because that's where the big TV money, sponsorship deals, merchandising deal etc. are. Very little of that money goes outside of the European system. I don't want something similar to emerge in Rugby.


Ken Catchpole (46)
He came in for the Force back in 2012. I thought he played pretty well. When the Force didn't sign him longer term I just assumed it was because he was a bit of a dickhead. I think we stuck with Sheehan for another year instead.

Brumby Runner

Jason Little (69)
Playing for Warringah and killing it. How he doesn't have a Super Rugby contract is beyond me.

Never thought much of him when he was at the Brumbies. Always thought he played 12 better than 9, but apparently going very good for the Rats so far this year.


Nathan Sharpe (72)
Problem number 1: player agents were smarter than the ARU in 1996.

Problem number 2: backs are paid too much

Problem number 3: not enough development in the area of tight five players.

First two issues can be addressed by telling backs to earn their place.

Second one can be solved by stopping the process of picking the fattest kids at prop and paying some attention. Then props can earn what they're worth


Steve Williams (59)
Staff member
Not only the Ponies and the Force but Holmes has played for the Tahs as well. Why he didn't cement a place in one of those Super sides remains a mystery.

A small aside: Josh had a cracking few games for the Western Sydney Rams in 2007's ARC.


Tim Horan (67)
On player exodus, I think we could all be a little worried about the new French Top 14 TV deal. Gives the French clubs a lot more money to shop in NZ and Aus, and losing 2nd tier players will end up hurting top team. Also very interesting to see what Irish are doing with likes of Bundee Aki, Jarred Payne etc, take them over there as "project" players,ie; they are eligible to play for Ireland in 3 years, make it very interesting to a young player who not seeing a great chance of cracking Wallabies, they in with chance of playing international rugby. If you a young 9-10 who is coming through and sees Genia/Cooper/To'omua etc in front who are still young players........


Ken Catchpole (46)
The advantage for us is that we are under-rated compared to you guys. We also don't have as much depth. That actually works out as an advantage as a guy like Bundee Aki may never make the All Blacks consistently. Put a guy like that in Australia and he probably has less competition and is more likely to make it into the side on a regular basis. Guys in New Zealand must be constantly looking over their shoulders at the next new thing coming through. A couple of years ago Matt Todd was the bee's knees. Now he has guys like Ardie Savea and Sam Cane who could easily leapfrog him into the ABs squad. It's not really the same for the Wallabies. We have a lot of toilers, but not as many bright sparks.


Peter Sullivan (51)

this was the gist of my original post. the coincidence of all the timings, RWC, new European TV deal (ie money, money, money), less money in australia, lots of fringe test players coming off contract, a great combination of drivers to push players overseas this year and next.


Frank Nicholson (4)
I think the transfer fee is a good way of stopping the drain and benefiting Australian super rugby. It means that if the clubs sell a player they get some compensation for it, which is better than their current situation where they receive no compensation and it also gives them more say in the future of their players.

Train Without a Station

Isn't a transfer fee paid when one team procures an in-contract player from another?

considering our player exodus is players leaving at the end of their contract or through legitimate termination clauses, I'm not sure how this would at all assist.

I'm also not sure about the practicality, possibility or legality of implemented some global scheme across competing competitions and unions who don't care about each other, to implement some sort of trade restraint that restricts the movements of out of contract players.


Tony Shaw (54)
Staff member
Adding more fuel tot he fire is the ARU's inability to sign off a number of contracts. Granted if I was being offered less I'd look at my options, but then again players may find there are less options overseas than first thought.

ARU finances leave players unclear on future
THE Australian Rugby Union’s contracting process has effectively stalled, with a dozen players offered Wallabies contracts making no move to sign them, despite the lure of playing in the World Cup next year.
The harsh realities of Australian rugby’s dire financial position are starting to hit home, with players being made offers in some cases up to $100,000 lower than when they previously negotiated their existing contracts.
Although under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, players are entitled to 26 per cent of player-generated revenue, the ARU at one point was overpaying on players’ salaries to the tune of 32 per cent. Such largesse is out of the question now, with the ARU battling to stay afloat for another 18 months until the new and hopefully improved SANZAR broadcast deal kicks in.
“The players are at the point where they can’t get their heads around what is being offered,” one Super Rugby coach told The Australian. “Do I think they’re all going to leave? No, because the lure of playing for the Wallabies, especially in a World Cup, is still a very strong (one).”
There is also the added uncertainty from the players’ perspective of not knowing precisely what manner of competition they will be playing in from 2016 or whether their Australian franchises will actually be able to pay them if SANZAR goes ahead with its plans to expand to a 17- or 18-team competition.
Research conducted for the Rugby Union Players Association by external consultants Global Media and Sports paints a gloomy picture of the financial impact of such a competition, most especially on the damage that would be caused to Australian franchises if they lost one local derby match every two seasons. That would entail a financial hit of about $1 million, which one Super Rugby chief executive yesterday estimated would make the difference between survival and bankruptcy.
However, RUPA chief executive Greg Harris believes players are not looking so far down the track at this point.
“That might form a small part of their thinking but mostly they’re saying to themselves, ‘there’s not enough money here … the money is better offshore’.”
Opportunities overseas, however, might not be as plentiful as many players believe. British clubs have a limit of two foreign players and even then to qualify they must have played Test football within the preceding 18 months. And most clubs have filled their rosters for next season.
The fear is that once the World Cup is over, there will be a stampede for the door if Australian rugby still is not in a position to match the European contract offers. Harris claimed the ARU might have no alternative, if it wants to field a competitive Test side, to taking “a more flexible approach” by abandoning its long-held position that only players who have competed in Super Rugby are eligible for Wallabies selection.
“At the end of the day, if they (the ARU) haven't got the money, they can't pay it,” said Harris.
“Maybe the solution is to set a quota of allowing, say, five overseas-based Australian players to be selected in the Wallabies at any one time.
“That way Australia gets to use these players at virtually no cost to itself. Instead of paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars, they only have to pay them the $10,000 Test match fee.
“The other battle Australian rugby has to brace itself for is if the NRL raises its salary cap to $7m, although at the moment we’re losing players to league not at the Test level but at schoolboy level.”


Sir Arthur Higgins

Alan Cameron (40)
Post World Cup there will be significant competition for spots in France from Aus kiwi bok and six nations teams to say nothing of the pacific islands.
After re-signing current foreign players I'd be surprised if there was more than two spots available per top 14 team which doesn't mean we're going to lose that many players. That also doesn't include any developing nation players from Georgia Romania Argentina Canada and USA.
So the option then is get paid a little more money in div2 and what a horrible move that would be. There is not much glamour playing in auch, agen, montauban etc. if you're out of Paris Biarritz Toulouse Perpignan Toulon and Montpellier I don't really see the draw.
Agree with smith that some stars who have played awhile should be able to play a season in japan and then a 3/4 season in Aus to increase their income.


Not sure where to put this. But does anyone know how Jono Jenkins playing?