1. I would rather see no overseas players in our leagues and let the money be channelled into the Scholarships/Acadamies and amateur local junior clubs. Obviously standards would initially decline but in the longer term maybe we could start to challenge the Aussies again.
2. Clubs can start picking up lads for their Scholarship teams from the age of 14. Are they saying that after 5 or 6 years of going through their own tailor made system that too few of them are good enough to make it to first team football to make it viable? Surely that is more of a sad indictment on the clubs than the young lads.
1. The overseas players are paid for by Superleague club income. There's a strong argument that the overseas players make the standard of Superleague stronger and give the game an element of a glamour or international image. I think players say at Leeds like Webb, Lautiti, Donald,Leuluai are great value for money and add to the appeal and image of the game.
Those resentful often speak of "second rate Aussies" keeping out our stars of tommorrow. I wholeheartedly disagree. We simply do not have talent better than these players. If we send them back the wages we save will have to pay for the British replacements. I don't think SL can afford to cut salaries and throw the money at Junior development. It needs organisation more than money throwing at it.
2. I don't with respect recognise the idea that if you have a 14 year old and he goes through a six year development process then it's a failure of the system if he does not turn out to be a good professional.
In my area of Leeds, a staunch Rhinos supporting area we have two big junior soccer clubs playing out of 10 age ranges with two teams an age range. That's 40 teams with squads averaging 15 players that's 600 kids playing soccer, we have one Union side with a junior section, probably 150 players.
No kid in my area plays RL in a local junior side
This is probably why Leeds have to import players and why they can't find a local center good enough.
Don't get me wrong the game is played in one of the schools and Jodie Broughton took it up and had to go to Queens to advance his interest in the game. he's now an England player, but that was luck rather than organisation.
But I am firmly in support of organising things in and around Leeds so there's one big club that attracts the kids interest because they are on telly and they have "stars" and big crowds watch them. Then they interact with all the schools and development officers, give local RL enthusiasts support to start kids teams out of school, have the SL club interact with that set up and let the elite flow through the final development bit and the best end up full pros.
I think this partly happens. Most British SL players come from areas where there's an SL club, probably because that generates the interest, the ambition and the organisation to harness it. But clearly the number of kids who take up RL in this country is miniscule, and that's why we struggle for talent........