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Bradford Bulls sign NZ Warriors duo

Bradford Bulls Super League Leeds Rhinos

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#1 Aaron Bower

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:28 AM

From earlier this morning, Bradford Bulls have announced their latest pair of recruits, as they are bringing in Jordan Baldwinson and Mason Tonks from the New Zealand Warriors:

http://www.totalrl.c...d-warriors-duo/

What do we all make of this? It'll be good to see some young British talent get a crack at Super League - they certainly both left with a high reputation.



#2 Bulliac

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 11:06 AM

Troops are needed pretty desperately at Odsal, so it has to be good from a Bulls' perspective. No idea how good they are but it seems they didn't make in NZ, so we'll hope for the best.


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#3 mt smart

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 11:28 AM

Tonks i don't know about apart from he struggled to be fair , barely got any game time in the Junior Warriors squad and reports from the Northcote Tigers ( local club in the Auckland competition the lads were farmed out to for experience ) were not glowing.

 

Baldwinson on the other hand also had his troubles holding down a spot in the Juniors but he looked a prospect.

 

Baldwinson has a good work rate ( high in terms of running decoys for his age ).

 

It's a weird one. They were brought into the strongest youth team going around in an year where the forwards are the strongest in terms lf Depth I've ever seen.

 

Big part of the problem were they are too small for the Polynessian Jnr NRL.

From what I saw of Jordan I recon he'll be a star one day,

 

Needs to grow , get heavier.


Edited by mt smart, 15 May 2014 - 01:23 PM.


#4 Futtocks

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 01:35 PM

Ideally, for their sakes, I'd have liked to have seen both stay Down Under a bit longer and see if they could cement a place in the Warriors set-up. 

 

The Warriors teams below first-grade are highly thought of as future (and bleedin' mahoosive!) prospects and if they could have become part of that, then that would be something on their CVs.


A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open. Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)


#5 Pottsy

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 07:43 PM

Odd that the Warriors made such a play to get these lads and then gave up on them so quickly. Homesick?

#6 OutOfTownRoughyed

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 09:16 PM

Leeds obviously still rate them to re- sign the pair of them and loan them to Bradford

#7 mt smart

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:14 PM

Odd that the Warriors made such a play to get these lads and then gave up on them so quickly. Homesick?

Home sickness was part of it I'm sure.
 
They were both housed together in posh little pad in an afluent area , a stroll from one of Aucklands most picturesque beaches.
 
Swanky suburb reknowned for hot posh girls ( tis where my wife comes from haha ) and from all accounts they were impressed by how they were being looked after by the club. 
 
I think the Warriors miss judged the physical miss match , Baldwinsons tall ( he looks like a real prospect for the 2nd row if you ask me ) but both were tiny compared with their team mates , some of these Juniors are bigger than the average players running around in the NRL.

 

When I was in Hamilton watching them get five token minutes versus Wigan , I thought Baldwinson looked devastated with how they only got a token opportunity there...especially since that Warriors side included C grade Juniors who were meeting for the first time in their lives ( no joke the Winger and a couple of others had been phoned that week to come into camp and make up the numbers....kids flown up from Wellington ).

 

These lads were meant to hold down spots in a team that had Albert Vete ( a prop who wore the 17 jumper in the trial, Wigan Fans were impressed by....he was a handful for the Wigan side )......Sam Lisone ( another Prop that sits on an average of over 200 meters a game ) and Bunty Afoa......a shool boy Prop they unvieled this year that has been flatening players in Mens grade in the Auckland Club comp since he was 16. 

 

The depth in that squad is ridiculous.....consider six of those Juniors were removed at the start of the season to play the next level up ( NSW cup + two are NRL fringe players ).....and the Leeds lads were still a bit out of their depth.

 

Only a day or so before the Rhino's boys went home, we had to let go one of our promising Props from that team, James Taylor has been snapped up by Wayne Bennetts Kinghts the Warriors are bursting at the seams with these playes Jordan Balwinson called " all Freaks " 

 

ESL fans shouldn't read anything into the boys not being good enough, Baldwinson was making it, turning the corner, that's a big achievement in of itself, they were thrown in the deep end , unfortunate timing that they were there when the Junior program is looking like a Jamaican Junior track team.


Edited by mt smart, 15 May 2014 - 10:27 PM.


#8 Pottsy

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:52 PM

Thanks Mt Smart. Informative as ever.

#9 Emosi Koloto

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 08:47 AM

I actually think Mason Tonks is the more naturally talented player of the two but i think Jordan Baldwinson has a determined attitude and a real desire to make it in the game. 

Good luck to both of them. 


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#10 Futtocks

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 09:10 AM

Re-reading Mt Smart's post, is Mr Afoa the first ever 'Bunty' in Rugby League?

 

Google, disappointingly, informs me it isn't his real name, but even so...  :biggrin:


A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open. Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)


#11 Bulliac

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 10:05 AM

Leeds obviously still rate them to re- sign the pair of them and loan them to Bradford

I'm not totally sure about that to be honest. My impression [formed from what I've read] is that they are signed to Leeds for next season but, for this season are actually on loan from the warriors, just as they loaned them out to other NZ clubs?


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#12 MrPosh

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 12:52 PM

Re-reading Mt Smart's post, is Mr Afoa the first ever 'Bunty' in Rugby League?

 

Depends if rhyming slang counts or not.


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#13 DoubleD

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 10:14 AM

Home sickness was part of it I'm sure.
 
They were both housed together in posh little pad in an afluent area , a stroll from one of Aucklands most picturesque beaches.
 
Swanky suburb reknowned for hot posh girls ( tis where my wife comes from haha ) and from all accounts they were impressed by how they were being looked after by the club. 
 
I think the Warriors miss judged the physical miss match , Baldwinsons tall ( he looks like a real prospect for the 2nd row if you ask me ) but both were tiny compared with their team mates , some of these Juniors are bigger than the average players running around in the NRL.

 

When I was in Hamilton watching them get five token minutes versus Wigan , I thought Baldwinson looked devastated with how they only got a token opportunity there...especially since that Warriors side included C grade Juniors who were meeting for the first time in their lives ( no joke the Winger and a couple of others had been phoned that week to come into camp and make up the numbers....kids flown up from Wellington ).

 

These lads were meant to hold down spots in a team that had Albert Vete ( a prop who wore the 17 jumper in the trial, Wigan Fans were impressed by....he was a handful for the Wigan side )......Sam Lisone ( another Prop that sits on an average of over 200 meters a game ) and Bunty Afoa......a shool boy Prop they unvieled this year that has been flatening players in Mens grade in the Auckland Club comp since he was 16. 

 

The depth in that squad is ridiculous.....consider six of those Juniors were removed at the start of the season to play the next level up ( NSW cup + two are NRL fringe players ).....and the Leeds lads were still a bit out of their depth.

 

Only a day or so before the Rhino's boys went home, we had to let go one of our promising Props from that team, James Taylor has been snapped up by Wayne Bennetts Kinghts the Warriors are bursting at the seams with these playes Jordan Balwinson called " all Freaks " 

 

ESL fans shouldn't read anything into the boys not being good enough, Baldwinson was making it, turning the corner, that's a big achievement in of itself, they were thrown in the deep end , unfortunate timing that they were there when the Junior program is looking like a Jamaican Junior track team.

 

Mt Smart, perhaps you can inform me why the Warriors took these players on with them having such an abundance of talent? Or was this actually a Leeds Rhinos plan to send the players out of their comfort zone for a year to understand what it takes to make it in the big time, with the plan always being for them to come back 12 months later, more mature and driven?



#14 mt smart

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 03:08 PM

Mt Smart, perhaps you can inform me why the Warriors took these players on with them having such an abundance of talent? Or was this actually a Leeds Rhinos plan to send the players out of their comfort zone for a year to understand what it takes to make it in the big time, with the plan always being for them to come back 12 months later, more mature and driven?

As you've read they weren't brought out here for lack of depth in the NZ Forwards options, but I also got the distinct impression talking with Dean Bell ( last year before the lads arived ) that as top Super League prospects , the plan was always to keep them here if they worked out. 
 
They were recruited at a time where the Warriors were having a bit of a think tank around developing pathways outside of the NRL proper. The Warriors have problems recruiting Australian talent , I think when Sam Tomkins agreed to come to the Warriors ( in principal nothing signed ) that idea was expanded to the Sister club arrangement ( Wigan )....the Leeds players were an experiment in taking that idea further still.
 
Bell spoke about how they sent Jordans parents a video of the Warriors and it was his parents who convinced him to have a go.
 
I doubt Leeds were keen on the idea ( there was that critical article about NZ running out of it's own talent and poaching Leeds most talented ).
 
I know the NZ club were excited about the idea of having a pathway from the UK. The Leeds boys were an important attempt to try to introduce a point of difference to what we already have,

 

The idea was sold to fans as an opportunity to bring in players from a different model , mix things up a bit , give some of our Juniors something to think about / competition for spots / exposure to players that are prepared to go outside of their comfort zone to build their careers.

 

From a playing point of View , Jordan was making the grade , Mason was not. It wouldn't surprise me if it turns out that Mason was released and Jordan didn't want to stay out here on his own.

 

In terms of opportunity there were spots made available by the promotion of two players specifically to a higher grade ( Vete + a kid called Raymond Faitala Mariner ) however while Jordan and Mason were ' finding their feet' more Junior Props with potential rolled off the production line, took their opportunities.

 

Interestingly Dr Koukash thanked the Warriors Ceo for the heads up with Locke, that's an example of how this dual pathway with Wigan was meant to function.

 

It serves the Warriors to have some of these players they will not be able to keep . to go to the ESL as opposed to a direct competitor in the NRL.

 

Whether the club will ever try more young talent from the UK out here again is going to be interesting. After Dennis Betts and Andy Platts time here , it has taken a very long time to go back to the UK for options.

 

The flip side is Tomkins, pretty much the most useful player we've had in a generation, potentially ever.


Edited by mt smart, 17 May 2014 - 03:21 PM.


#15 DoubleD

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 08:52 PM

As you've read they weren't brought out here for lack of depth in the NZ Forwards options, but I also got the distinct impression talking with Dean Bell ( last year before the lads arived ) that as top Super League prospects , the plan was always to keep them here if they worked out. 
 
They were recruited at a time where the Warriors were having a bit of a think tank around developing pathways outside of the NRL proper. The Warriors have problems recruiting Australian talent , I think when Sam Tomkins agreed to come to the Warriors ( in principal nothing signed ) that idea was expanded to the Sister club arrangement ( Wigan )....the Leeds players were an experiment in taking that idea further still.
 
Bell spoke about how they sent Jordans parents a video of the Warriors and it was his parents who convinced him to have a go.
 
I doubt Leeds were keen on the idea ( there was that critical article about NZ running out of it's own talent and poaching Leeds most talented ).
 
I know the NZ club were excited about the idea of having a pathway from the UK. The Leeds boys were an important attempt to try to introduce a point of difference to what we already have,

 

The idea was sold to fans as an opportunity to bring in players from a different model , mix things up a bit , give some of our Juniors something to think about / competition for spots / exposure to players that are prepared to go outside of their comfort zone to build their careers.

 

From a playing point of View , Jordan was making the grade , Mason was not. It wouldn't surprise me if it turns out that Mason was released and Jordan didn't want to stay out here on his own.

 

In terms of opportunity there were spots made available by the promotion of two players specifically to a higher grade ( Vete + a kid called Raymond Faitala Mariner ) however while Jordan and Mason were ' finding their feet' more Junior Props with potential rolled off the production line, took their opportunities.

 

Interestingly Dr Koukash thanked the Warriors Ceo for the heads up with Locke, that's an example of how this dual pathway with Wigan was meant to function.

 

It serves the Warriors to have some of these players they will not be able to keep . to go to the ESL as opposed to a direct competitor in the NRL.

 

Whether the club will ever try more young talent from the UK out here again is going to be interesting. After Dennis Betts and Andy Platts time here , it has taken a very long time to go back to the UK for options.

 

The flip side is Tomkins, pretty much the most useful player we've had in a generation, potentially ever.

Why do NZ Warriors need to look for talent outside of their pathways though when there seems to be an abundance of talent within their own setup and they also have a monopoly of NZ RL youth talent?



#16 mt smart

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 12:37 AM

Why do NZ Warriors need to look for talent outside of their pathways though when there seems to be an abundance of talent within their own setup and they also have a monopoly of NZ RL youth talent?

Probably the most asked Question by NZ fans.

 

The answer is complex and with all sports it starts with the sports Culture the players are bred in. Thirty + years I've been involved in the game here, and had experience with how the games run in Australia....lots of solutions have been tried....but the problem is the fundamantal model.

 

NZ shouldn't have to go offshore. The Warriors have been through the full import versus local development cycle a couple of times....and are still scratching their heads as to why don't these young Athletes thrive in the Warriors own systems.

 

We're just coming off a puritst local development model ( failed ) with the club crashing to it's worst results ever.

 

The problem in NZ has been the lack of a School competition. There is a constant battle with Union to try to establish a realistic League game in Highschools ( one of the first areas targeted by the Warriors new parnership...they now sponsor a modest new Auckland School boy comp , top Union Schools have opted out so far ).

 

The under twenties competition is relatively new. Our results speak for themselves , three grand finals , back to back titles, lowest finish Fourth.

 

We dominate Junior football , but the way that has been approached ( picking giant players ) has had a long term negative effect , the Warriors have too narrow a player type to choose from for their Fg side.

 

This is where importing Juniors from another system had merit as an idea. Players ideally who don't find the game comes ' too easily' for them and players that have to think their way through games when confronted with pressure when they make NRL level. 

 

Clearly the long term solution needs a long term fix. There have been some important steps taken ( setting up the schools comp and the early promotion of the most promising Juniors to the Mens open reserve grade comp to harden them off / seperate the wheat from the Chaff ). The Million dollars going into School league will pay off for the NZ game , it's a hundred years behind.

 

In the mean time bringing in kids from the UK could be seen as an experiment in changing the player type in the short term.

 

In hindsight importing forwards was the wrong way to go. Being big and fast with power and an offload probably isn't an imbalanced player type in a forward.

 

The other way the Warriors are trying to 'import the new' is the number of kids being scouted from the Union system here, they also have more rounded skills and come from a professional system at school level.

 

I would say if you look at players like Konrad Hurrell and Shaun Johnson....both imported from other codes.....our coaching systems are well on target.....however our past model for developing junior League players here was well off where it should be ( wrong overview....wrong model ).

 

The Juniors coach who built the original dynasty ( John Akland ) was let go by the club , because his primary goal was winning Under 20's titles when it should have been recruiting the type of talent we are seeing....kids in mens grade....backs who look like Backs instead of fast props on the Wing.

 

To be fair to Akland he had a nose for talent , two school kids he scouted for the Bulldogs from the Auckland School system went ok ( Assotasi and SBW ).

 

You can't go away from the problem the Warriors have importing players from Aus. That's a massive disadvantage against fifteen teams that can recruit relatively freely.

 

As you know footballs a business , and as such.....since our Australasian market is a closed shop for us, the Warriors would be remiss not to look at talent in other systems.

 

They should realy be the most agressive recruiters in the NRL of ESL talent, taking the emotion of poaching the UK's talent out of the argument , the Warriors should lead the rest of the NRL in this area....because of thier unique diadvantage in NRL recruitment. 



#17 DoubleD

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 09:30 AM

Thanks Mt Smart, very interesting and informative and makes sense. Don't NZ have more lenient tax laws compared to Oz though, i'm sure that was one of the reasons Tomkins chose NZ over any Australian NRL clubs? If so, i'd have thought that would be a pull for some Oz NRL players? Although not perhaps for the right reasons!



#18 mt smart

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 12:17 PM

Thanks Mt Smart, very interesting and informative and makes sense. Don't NZ have more lenient tax laws compared to Oz though, i'm sure that was one of the reasons Tomkins chose NZ over any Australian NRL clubs? If so, i'd have thought that would be a pull for some Oz NRL players? Although not perhaps for the right reasons!

Correct. New Zealands tax Laws under the National govt ( the eqivalent of the Tories ) means people in Sams Tax bracket or any NRL player is lower than Aus and lower than incomes from a lower level in NZ.

 

It is promoted by our club as an incentive however the key thing for the Tomkins deal was the Warriors preparedness to pay the massive transfer fee to Wigan whereas other clubs who showed interest baulked at that part.

 

Sam isn't costing the Warriors too much in terms of what he brings and what his salary is under the cap. The cap exempt top ups he gets are likely to be very attractive....but the thing is...even when our club is losing.....they run a profitable business at the Warriors ( twenty five million last year after two years of the worst results ever ).

 

There is a Billion dollar empire backing the Warriors in any case, so it just goes to show the extent of the problem signing players....if all those positives and big contracts are still not enough to make us competitive in the signing market.

 

It's another complex argument , I could write pages about the Warriors buying power versus the rest of the NRL, but I'll spare Bradford fans the off topic stuff.....but it makes the decision to spend Money on Baldwinson and Tonks seem logical.


Edited by mt smart, 20 May 2014 - 09:35 PM.






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