Posted 14 April 2014 - 10:00 PM
It's hard to make a comparison. The obvious way you can compare is between players who have played in both recently.
The only back who has gone there is Tomkins. A superstar in SL but doesnt stand out as much in the NRL. The Warriors have scored 21 tries in the NRL this year. Tomkins has scored 3 of them, assisted 5 (was the last player to touch the ball before his team mate scored) and on 5 other occasions he pretty much created the space for the try (the 3 occasions against West Tigers are examples of this where Fishaii scored but Tomkins was the one who put Hurrell into a huge amount of space) that obviously isn't as prolific as at Wigan then but he is playing at a side who perform much worse in the competition (regardless if he is playing or not) Tomkins is doing okay. Obviously with the nature of the way he's gone over there he is going to be criticised far more heavily than he is praised but all in all he is doing above average. He's made a couple of errors but so has every player in the NRL (I think more tries this year are coming directly from errors rather than skill IMO) he's not as good as he was in SL so that probably implies the NRL is better? Or is it due to him playing for the side who got the wooden spoon last year not the team who won the double it will be hard to tell.
The forwards you've obviously got James Graham, Sam Burgess, Luke Burgess, Mike Cooper, Tom and George Burgess who are the poms who have gone over there. Players who have played in SL in the pack recently and gone back to the NRL are Sam Moa and Ryan Hoffman. I do not think you can make a comparison with the younger 3 Burgess clan as they were only very young when they played in SL. Every player I named above have stood out more in the NRL than they did in SL IMO. James Graham asserted himself as the best prop in the world. Luke Burgess was on fire and tearing it up despite not being able to get into the Leeds side. Ryan Hoffman has been excellent and scored in the 2012 GF. I did not take note of Moa at Hull and now at the Roosters he has been superb whenever I have seen him. Cooper has also been very good when I have seen him play this year. I will be very surprised if Lee Mossop does not excel either.
You look at forwards going the other way and how many ex SOO forwards have quite frankly been shocking. Josh Perry was awful. Justin Poore has been shocking. Anthony Laffranchi has been average. Michael Weyman has probably been just above average but not setting the world alight. These are just names off the top of my head. I am sure people can name others at their clubs who look disinterested.
The half backs and outside backs do tend to excel when coming over here to be fair though. Hull KR pretty much relied on Dobson, Holdsworth ran things at Salford and Hull, Luke Walsh is a star over here, Chase could not get a gig in the NRL, Tim Smith carried Wakefield for a while yet none of the players named previous were classed as particularly good half backs. I'd say they were average in the NRL but very good in SL hence you'd say the NRL is a higher standard. Maybe the Aussie halves are better at controlling a game in SL. I think a lot of our halves don't have the arrogance and confidence of their Aussie counter parts to really control a game. I don't mean it in a bad way but when they come over they really can take the game by a scruff of a neck. Maybe this is why they can perform better and look better than they do in the NRL and look more affective? We have had a few along these lines in Briers, Brough and Long but all the NRL half backs which come over who did average in the NRL seem to have this ability.
The class between the Roosters and Wigan earlier this year is no indication. The Wigan side which won the league last year was minus Tomkins, Richards, Mossop, O Loughlin was playing injured and Harrison Hansen. Not the same side whatsoever. Wigan were missing their best players from the previous season and as this season is showing they aren't as good as the best of SL.
I think the NRL is consistently a better league. The thing which does bemuse me is how forwards seem to excel in the NRL but not in SL. Maybe the extra intensity makes them step up their games? I really don't know. Leeds & St Helens would be among the top 5 in the NRL IMO if they had sides based in Aus. I think Hull, Huddersfield, Warrington, Wigan a full fit Catalan would all compete fine and make up the numbers between 5 - 14. Everyone else would get beat consistently IMO and the bottom 3 would have 50 points put past them regularly. I like watching them both equally to be honest. They're both playing the greatest game.
I want to see more backs going over their though. Especially our full backs in Hardaker, Lomax and Shaul. I'm sure they'd be great over there.