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Magic Superbeetle

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  1. Interesting apologies for the confusion. As I say, I find it unlikely (and one of the reason I know Thompson wants to come back is that he misses playing with Walmsley, so would be a slightly odd merry-go-round), but it is rumour season as you say! I know Saints have been pursuing Lewis Murphy as a replacement for Regan Grace, but Wakefield aren't interested in entertaining the possibility. We may look to ship out a non fed to accommodate an overseas winger coming in, but with non fed spots at an absolute premium for most clubs at the moment, it seems unlikely we are going to lose one of our choosing, and thus the noise from Wellens is for Bennison to get the 5 shirt next year, and going after Murphy/Davies when theyre out of contract next year. How Saints manage the 5 shirt will define Wellens first season (along with how Dodd returns, if he comes back in the form he was in when he was injured, its effectively a major new signing for us!)
  2. Which Yorkshireman are you suggesting Saints are interested in? Saints have cap space with Grace going (https://www.seriousaboutrl.com/there...ns-boss-60065/) but last I heard the Yorkshireman they were interested in wasn’t an option as their club weren’t willing for him to leave “at any price”. Wouldnt be surprised if LT were back at Saints in 2024, but will be with Bulldogs next year. Similarly Walmsley won’t be going anywhere, he’s not as essential as he was a few years ago with Lees and Paasi having really stepped up, and there’s high hopes for Wingfield and Delaney in the next few years, but Walmsley is one of the drivers of Saints Culture, really well liked in the squad and just rolling off his testimonial.
  3. This can very easily turn into a nature vs nurture debate. Ultimately plenty of highly rated youngsters still don’t make it and if it was purely top kids go in, top players come out then the top clubs waste a lot of time and effort in helping them develop. Welsby wouldn’t be half the player he currently is if Saints hadn’t put their trust in him and allowing Coote to leave for example… Instead - I think it’s more pertinent to suppose your assertion is correct, the big three “get first draft” and ask why. In theory a Leigh mad kid whose grown up supporting the club should want to join the Leigh academy. Why don’t they? I guess it’s one of three answers; - the big 3 put more effort into convincing them to join. Schemes like Saints Australia tour (prior to Covid) doesn’t necessarily help towards anything, but sounds a really cool thing to be part of and may just be enough to swing a maybe to a yes. - the big 3 offer better coaching and facilities, with a demonstrable path to becoming a professional player. - the big 3 pay more in academy contracts than other academies. Surely it is up to other clubs to put attractive offers to the junior players that breaks the “first draft” rather than just complaining it exists?
  4. Do the criteria need to be binary? I think whatever the criteria they pick, there should be clear definable ways teams can progress over time Stadium Requirements; [1 Point] Full Ownership and scheduling in the clubs control [2 Points] 4 stands with a roof on each [3 Points] Hospitality, conferencing and commercial facilities used outside of game day Attendances; [1 Point] Average over 8,000 per home game in the last 3 seasons (2020 excluded) [2 Points] Average over 10,000 per home game in the last 3 seasons (2020 excluded) [3 Points] Average over 15,000 per home game in the last 3 seasons (2020 excluded) etc etc Make what "progress" means really obvious to all involved in the game, and progressively make the bar move. We have seen what keeping the salary cap stagnant for so long has done in terms of quality and licensing should continue to move everyone forwards, even those "comfortable A Licence teams"
  5. Your argument boils down to "Either all restaurants must be a michelin starred restaurant (but not charge double for the privilege) or all french restaurants must have a star". The reality is all clubs can have an academy now, and with the correct commitment and doing (not just saying this is what were going to do with a pot of money that we say is over there) get recognised as an elite academy. The fact that some clubs have been granted elite status, but don't have the development output of Saints/Wigan/Leeds shows that we will never have a truly "fair" system. I would argue that it isnt "fair" that a club can put next to no effort into running an academy, and yet get the same funding as those teams that do take it seriously. Perhaps a good way to look at this instead would be rather than the RFL funding academies granted elite status, instead when a player is selected for England their is a kick back for the academy which developed them ?
  6. How clubs choose to interact with the colleges is on them and how much time and effort they put into the college relationship. Saints, despite being an “elite” academy still has ties to St.Helens College and use it as a network to build the academy model around - we have a set number of places in the college to give to academy players, and the college will support their training schedule. Wigan I believe have taken it a step further and effectively set up their own college to have full integration (which for those interested is also the model most football clubs have). Yes the quality of the opposition is very different between the elite academy league and non elite league, but that shouldn’t be a blocking factor for clubs (especially as reserves is now a thing to help bridge the gap in quality) and allows any club who wants to to demonstrate their commitment to development. The clubs that kicked off about the elite funding very much gave the impression that it was a convenient excuse for them not to bother at all, rather than being frustrated by the situation. Correct me if I’m wrong but England RL use St.George’s Park right? It’s not owned by the RFL, so getting access for 10-15 teams worth of academy players consistently would be incredibly costly. Further it will make a lot of junior players lives significantly harder having to commute across country for training as opposed to a local team. Again without a team infrastructure, accommodation becomes a lot more scarce which makes life for players from outside the heartlands more difficult again (local families took Grace and Wellington in when they first joined the saints academy for example). As for loans - who then decides who gets a player on loan? Surely the RFL choosing superstar X goes to Saints rather than Hull is far more actively showing favouritism rather than the current system? I have considered that you could compromise on the “loan” system by instead having all junior contracts held by the RFL, allowing them to be standardised, to stop teams paying juniors “overs” (relative to junior salaries) to hoard talent, but I think this would ultimately only further entrench the status Quo, as outbidding the likes of Saints/Wigan/Leeds would be currently the only way for some teams to sign on promising youngsters. we do effectively have the localised system up until the age of 16 with the town team system anyway (or I’m woefully out of touch these days!) and I just don’t see how the RFL taking another age group benefits compared to the loss of development in our elite junior players as outlined.
  7. - the RFL isn’t favouring clubs by awarding elite licenses. It’s not like the RFL said there are only 10 licenses and they’ll go to who we choose. All clubs have the option to run an academy in conjunction with a college, and meeting Sport England standards leads to additional funding. - it fundamentally misses the point that there are some academies which spend more on development than they receive from central funding. Obviously disrupted by Covid, but prior to that the Saints club would take their academy over to Australia for a series every other year. Not only is this a huge draw for players but also helps them develop and continue to improve beyond just a basic academy set up. - lots of the top academies get access to training facilities and coaching that the first team get, which wouldn’t be easily replicated in out of team academy set ups. Similarly teams set their teams up in the academy in a similar way to the first team playing (particularly obvious with Wigan) and this helps ease young players in to first grade making transition easier and improving them overall. - there’s lots of examples of kids playing first grade before completing the academy. Holding the top players back by playing for a non affiliated academy only hurts our development of elite players. There was a suggestion that they would be responsible until 23 - imagine how much damage that would do to someone like Welsby. - it puts increased pressure on teams signing journeymen as they don’t have an academy to fall back on when injuries occur. Saints would have struggled massively without Bennison stepping to the team this year for example. Overall taking academies away from the teams would most likely lead to a more even distribution of talent, but would irrevocably harm the development of our most elite junior talent. I’m just never going to be convinced the benefit of doing this over doing more to encourage teams to invest further in their own academy set ups (which is all too often is an after thought to many of these teams).
  8. Neither Hopoate or Bennison is likely to be first choice going into next season. Woolf confirmed we’re looking to sign a new winger to replace Grace (paying a transfer fee to Wakefield for Murphy if you believe the Saints forum), and Dodd comes back in. 1. Welsby 2. Makinson 3. Hurrell 4. Percival 5. <New Signing> 6. Lomax 7. Dodd
  9. If other teams put as much finance and resource in to their academies as Saints, Wigan and Leeds do, we would be in a much healthier position. All centralising academies would achieve is a net decrease in spend, and increasingly lower yields of elite players as a consequence... I have long though salary cap spend should be linked to academy/development spend, and a much lower limit on max cap value for homegrown and federation players. Or remove the limit on the number of marquees but instead each marquee signing comes with exponential commitments to funding academy programmes. If Warrington want to sign the current Australia team, they can do, by pumping double the money into developing the next England team ...
  10. Wait the leak he has signed for Dolphins or that he hasn’t signed for Dolphins? Both came out on the same day … Woolf was very clear he wasn’t making a decision until the end of July at the earliest. Saints are fine to wait (Wellens will take over if Woolf does go) and I reckon the Aussie press were just trying to influence things, and force Woolf into a decision. Dolphins inability to attract players is well documented at this point and Woolf seems well respected by players (Wests players were very vocal about wanting Woolf). Honestly, I think him going back as an assistant is a slap in the face, he’s earnt his stripes and then some, and if Holbrook, Robinson, Brown etc we’re all able to walk into the big time job from SL, so can Woolf.
  11. No one knows that’s the point! I don’t think Woolf knows at this point, and everyone else is guessing …
  12. If that is all we have, then Woolf denied that report here; https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/kristian-woolf-denies-future-reports-24543760 and on the same day as the NRL360 report there was this; https://www.zerotackle.com/dolphins-set-to-miss-another-key-signature-120501/
  13. https://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/19588570.totally-wicked-stadium-st-helens-worlds-top-3-rugby-stadiums/
  14. Missing a handful? We’re currently missing 6 and it’s a better position than we have been in for most of the season (and that’s ignoring Lomax playing with one arm). I don’t think we have played the same team two games on the bounce all season, and have absolutely no consistency in whose available. Hopoate has been in and out all year, Dodd is done for the year, Grace missed the first half of the season, Percival has now been out for 3 months and Makinson isn’t far behind him. Lomax has played through a ruptured bicep as we physically couldn’t lose another back this year. Even Hurrell has picked up a couple of bans (though has otherwise been a rock for our back line).
  15. I think the focus on passports and the heritage of players is due to that’s how the rules first were. The RFL have never done a great job making it really clear to everyone what the rules are at any given moment. They haven’t posted the latest operational rules for a good few years now for example, despite the cap going up. I am a complete cap nerd and will voluntarily look it up, but I don’t think I could tell you definitively if all the side rules in place (did they get rid of the returning player allowance when they brought marquees in?) Irrespective of brexit, UK employment law is simple (for this particular instance), employers (clubs) cannot discriminate on the grounds of a employees (players) nationality. They can however discriminate on the qualifications that they hold (which is no different from any employer requiring a degree for a role for example). Where this would get super interesting however is if another RL body like the NRL, were to start also issuing a similar qualification, then UK employment law would force the clubs to view them equally when making recruitment decisions, and basically blow up the whole process again. I guess they’re just sort of hoping another body wouldn’t do that …
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