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Most players want to play, Tom Lillycrop just fell down the pecking order and wasn't getting picked. It is not a question of faces fitting, it's a simple question of who the coach thinks he the better all round player.
And if someone is unlikely to be picked what should GM do, make them sit in the stand or let them go to a team where they will get a game? Forcing them to sit in the stand is a waste of contract money for the club and a waste of a players short career.
Mark Sawyer has done a great job at Dewsbury over the last dozen years. Bought the club out of administration and gradually built the club up on and off the field. We have lost a lot of players over the last few years to clubs offering more money but he has stuck to his guns at the expense of on field success.
Threats and insults between players will always happen, as it's a physical game. But that does not mean it's all okay. When I started supporting RL in the 1970s, racially abusing black players was seen as okay. Think the majority would say that it's not okay.
Any abuse of referees should not be tolerated. Unfortunately the RFL and referees allow a level of abuse/ arguing with referees which would not have been accepted in the 70s. How many players are sent off or sin binned for dissent? To a point, the referees and the RFL have allowed this situation to develop. When Hardaker was making his comment first time round, Carl Abblett can be heard saying something to the ref along the lines of "That's f####### b########" . But the ref just stood there and took it. And before any outraged Rhinos fans respond, I am sure players from all clubs do the same.
The bigger point is how many parents/kids see something like this and think, yes that's a game I want my son to play rather than RU, cricket or not bother at all. Do they see the potentially great sport or think it's a game played by tattooed, homophobic thugs?
Though the drop in income is an issue, I think the older generation are a potentially untapped market.
Generally, they have more free time as family commitments reduce i.e.kids grow up, they have more disposable income than young families and as shown above have more loyalty. The average life expectancy of a 65 year old is 20 years.
Yes we should encourage youngsters to attend, but we shouldn't forget the old 'uns either. Who knows they might even bring their grandkids.
I have suggested this before, but I am sure organisations like Probus, Rotary club would be happy to have GM and/or his wife come along and talk about being a professional coach / marketing etc..They are usually looking for speakers and we could invite them to a game in return.
Said this before, but I ref junior rugby and it is ten times harder than it looks. If you think you can do better, go and have a go. After 10 minutes you will have a different view.
As a spectator you actually get a better view of the game most of the time than the ref and as a supporter you see things from one viewpoint. You can't penalise every offence because you wouldn't have a game. You have to make hundreds of split second decisions every game.
Some refs are better than others, refs make mistakes, have good games and bad games, they always have and they always will.
If we are going to sign Fieldhouse then that explains Grayston's departure, unless he fancied another season on the sidelines. GM has done him a favour releasing him early to give him the best chance of signing for another club. We will see how he gets on at Batley.