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Souths looking to sign Luke Thompson

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1 hour ago, scotchy1 said:

Except this thread is about losing them, and people for some reason pretending this is a good thing. 

Also, people aren't stupid. We aren't going to trick them in to thinking SL is better than it is by simply ignoring the fact we are losing, and no longer attracting the best RL players. 

When have we attracted the best players?  The best Australians I can remember were Sterling, Lewis, Kenny, Meninga, Miles and before that, Beetson.  They only came for a short while and a hell of a lot bombed.  We've had better value from the NZ players overall.  In the scale of things the best have been relatively few.

Its no different now and Clubs have the opportunity to lash out for the best if they can afford it.  Most choose not to. 

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16 minutes ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

I don’t think we will ever see an Ellery quality player in our competition for more than a few years, and don’t think we will attract the Brett Kenny/Peter Sterling calibre players. Nor will we ever sign a Jonathan Davies quality union player.

We watch sport to be inspired - we watch to see “how did they do that?” players. Players like the Wiganer Luke Thompson. Or Wigan trained John Bateman. At Wigan, unless Hardaker recovers his top form, the only class acts I can see are Manfredi (and god knows whether he will ever come back) and Gildart, who has his eye on an NRL move as soon as he can. The dispiriting effect of knowing that we will neither be able to sign or retain the stars whose feats thrilled me in the 80s and 90s sucks much of the joy out of watching SL for me. 

While I think there is some merit in what you say (not sure why you had to drop in the Wigan Bateman and Thompson bait though) I watch Rugby League for more than just seeing the best of the best.

I watch the Academy series vs. the Australian Schoolboys knowing that both teams are not yet ready for first team rugby... but I enjoy it. 

I watch the amateur teams compete in the early rounds of the Challenge Cup knowing neither will reach the final... but I enjoy it. 

I watch the Championship Rugby League knowing it is not as good as Super League.... but I enjoy it. 

I watch Super League knowing it is not as good as the NRL.... but I enjoy it.

It helps me that I don't follow a club side and so I can enjoy the merits of each league/level without being subjectively dissatisfied with my teams standards.

Edited by Dunbar
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28 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

While I think there is some merit in what you say (not sure why you had to drop in the Wigan Bateman and Thompson bait though) I watch Rugby League for more than just seeing the best of the best

I just thought he was making the point that no one wants to stay at Wigan. They either prefer to play for St Helens or emigrate to Australia

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3 minutes ago, Moove said:

I just thought he was making the point that no one wants to stay at Wigan. They either prefer to play for St Helens or emigrate to Australia

Maybe... I read the 'sucks the joy out of watching SL' as a wider statement than just watching Wigan.

I may have replied to Exiled Wiganer but my point remains that we can watch sport and enjoy it while still recognising that it is not the highest standard the sport can offer.

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46 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

While I think there is some merit in what you say (not sure why you had to drop in the Wigan Bateman and Thompson bait though) I watch Rugby League for more than just seeing the best of the best.

I watch the Academy series vs. the Australian Schoolboys knowing that both teams are not yet ready for first team rugby... but I enjoy it. 

I watch the amateur teams compete in the early rounds of the Challenge Cup knowing neither will reach the final... but I enjoy it. 

I watch the Championship Rugby League knowing it is not as good as Super League.... but I enjoy it. 

I watch Super League knowing it is not as good as the NRL.... but I enjoy it.

It helps me that I don't follow a club side and so I can enjoy the merits of each league/level without being subjectively dissatisfied with my teams standards.

I will continue to watch the game, wherever and whenever I can, and do all I can to advance the international game. My core point is a narrow one - I personally find it immensely dispiriting that we won’t be able to keep or attract great players. I think it was Hearn who noted that nobody knows the name of any rugby league player in this country. We have to turn this round. 

Unless we reverse this downward spiral, we will be stuffed as a game over here. 

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1 hour ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

I will continue to watch the game, wherever and whenever I can, and do all I can to advance the international game. My core point is a narrow one - I personally find it immensely dispiriting that we won’t be able to keep or attract great players. I think it was Hearn who noted that nobody knows the name of any rugby league player in this country. We have to turn this round. 

Unless we reverse this downward spiral, we will be stuffed as a game over here. 

Ok, fair enough.

But I would argue that we have players who have the talent to be household names but are not... it is the awareness that we lack not the ability.

You referenced Ellery Hanley and he was as close to being one of a kind in Rugby League as you could get.

But take another pretty well known player from that era... Joe Lydon. I would argue that Jake Connor is a more skilful and more entertaining player than Lydon. That Connor is not well know in the country is not down to his lack of ability.

Edited by Dunbar
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Saints have done pretty well in recent years in terms of keeping hold of players - Roby and Walmsley in particular having turned down NRL deals to stay here. It's no surprise though that Thompson is attracting interest and it's a compliment to him and the development systems at Saints. For me he's not far off where James Graham was at the same age and if he settles in Australia then I can see him, like Graham, never coming back.

If he does go I certainly wouldn't begrudge him the opportunity either. To be blunt, he'll be challenged and improve more (particularly given his relatively young age) playing at the NRL intensity and the higher quality opposition than he would be if he's playing your Huddersfield's, Wakefield's and Wigan's week in week out.

From a Saints point of view it's then up to someone like Matty Lees to step up and aspire to develop to Thompson's level. There's an opportunity for someone else to step up to Matty Lees' level and so on. The negative there though is that the depth is pretty limited. If Lees can't make the step up in the next few years then Saints will replace from elsewhere and ultimately it's a strain on the overall quality in the UK.

So it's also up to Saints and the other clubs to work to make SL more attractive to retain talent. That means increasing playing standards, coaching standards, competitiveness, commercial opportunities, attendances, exposure, international opportunities etc. It also means increasing participation levels so we can better manage losses in the meantime.

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5 minutes ago, Moove said:

Saints have done pretty well in recent years in terms of keeping hold of players - Roby and Walmsley in particular having turned down NRL deals to stay here. It's no surprise though that Thompson is attracting interest and it's a compliment to him and the development systems at Saints. For me he's not far off where James Graham was at the same age and if he settles in Australia then I can see him, like Graham, never coming back.

If he does go I certainly wouldn't begrudge him the opportunity either. To be blunt, he'll be challenged and improve more (particularly given his relatively young age) playing at the NRL intensity and the higher quality opposition than he would be if he's playing your Huddersfield's, Wakefield's and Wigan's week in week out.

From a Saints point of view it's then up to someone like Matty Lees to step up and aspire to develop to Thompson's level. There's an opportunity for someone else to step up to Matty Lees' level and so on. The negative there though is that the depth is pretty limited. If Lees can't make the step up in the next few years then Saints will replace from elsewhere and ultimately it's a strain on the overall quality in the UK.

So it's also up to Saints and the other clubs to work to make SL more attractive to retain talent. That means increasing playing standards, coaching standards, competitiveness, commercial opportunities, attendances, exposure, international opportunities etc. It also means increasing participation levels so we can better manage losses in the meantime.

Some very good points.

On player development.  I have watched the highlights of the Saints Academy tour of Australia for the last several years and recently they have gone through the tour undefeated against NRL development squads.

If 20 to 25 quality youngsters are being developed at Saints every two years there is plenty of talent... if fact when you consider that an established first grade player may hold a position in the side for 10 years there are dozens of good youngsters needing to look elsewhere for opportunities. 

As a sport, we don't have the largest player pool but some teams have a fantastic track record for developing young talent and that gives me heart.

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26 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Ok, fair enough.

But I would argue that we have players who have the talent to be household names but are not... it is the awareness that we lack not the ability.

You referenced Ellery Hanley and he was as close to being one of a kind in Rugby League as you could get.

But take another pretty well known player from that era... Joe Lydon. Inwpuld argue that Jake Connor is a more skilful and more entertaining player than Lydon. That Connor is not well know in the country is not down to his lack of ability.

Maybe. In the end it is a passion and pastime. It is terrific that you enjoy watching Jake Connor. I liked watching Lydon, even though he destroyed us at Wembley and caused the Kangaroos problems when few could manage that. And I will never forget his 60m drop goal at Maine Road  

If we went back 2 years to KC’s era, then we didn’t have a single Saints poster on the forum, so I would hesitate before hailing their recent winning streak as a sign that all is well in the world just yet. 

I cannot over state my concern at the direction of travel of our domestic game. It won’t dent my level of commitment, but I think that, more than ever, any entertainment needs characters and stars. A competition which is seen by the rest of the world and many of the star players themselves as a stepping stone to the big league is in dire straits. 

By way of counter balance, I am hugely optimistic and excited by the prospects for the game at the international level. We might well, as others note, see England win a World Cup and the game across the globe at that level having a golden age. And maybe that will be sufficient to inspire a re birth of the game over here, attracting sponsors and making us attractive to TV companies. I would be doing cartwheels if that happens. 

Edited by Exiled Wiganer
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4 minutes ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

Maybe. In the end it is a passion and pastime. It is terrific that you enjoy watching Jake Connor. I liked watching Lydon, who destroyed us at Wembley and caused the Kangaroos problems when few could manage that. And I will never forget his 60m drop goal at Maine Road  

If we went back 2 years to KC’s era, then we didn’t have a single Saints poster on the forum, so I would hesitate before hailing their recent winning streak as a sign that all is well in the world just yet. 

I cannot over state my concern at the direction of travel of our domestic game. It won’t dent my level of commitment, but I think that, more than ever, any entertainment needs characters and stars. A competition which is seen by the rest of the world and many of the star players themselves as a stepping stone to the big league is in dire straits. 

By way of counter balance, I am hugely optimistic and excited by the prospects for the game at the international level. We might well, as others note, see England win a World Cup and the game across the globe at that level having a golden age. And maybe that will be sufficient to inspire a re birth of the game over here, attracting sponsors and making us attractive to TV companies. I would be doing cartwheels if that happens. 

I really liked Lydon too, I picked Connor because he is both a talented and exciting player and a character who brings out discussion and could easily be a bigger star if the game was bigger.

I do also have concerns over the modern game but it is more about how the game is played rather than who is playing it.

What I do share is your optimism for the international game. I think there is real competition at the top end and encouraging grass roots development in many countries. 

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3 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

On player development.  I have watched the highlights of the Saints Academy tour of Australia for the last several years and recently they have gone through the tour undefeated against NRL development squads.

In terms of playing quality and development, one of the biggest issues we have across the league I think is that transition from academy to first team SL. It's been touched on in a couple of other threads recently but we're generally pretty competitive at that level, yet pretty quickly young players are limited to an odd couple of SL appearances or a couple of seasons in League One or the Championship. That might toughen them up a bit but I'm not sure it does much for their technical development. So few of the talented academy players seem to go on to realise their potential compared to their Australian counterparts.

 

4 minutes ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

By way of counter balance, I am hugely optimistic and excited by the prospects for the game at the international level. We might well, as others note, see England win a World Cup and the game across the globe at that level having a golden age. And maybe that will be sufficient to inspire a re birth of the game over here, attracting sponsors and making us attractive to TV companies. I would be doing cartwheels if that happens. 

Agreed. I'm still hacked off at the opportunity we squandered after the last world cup over here. The talk around the next one has been so positive I just hope it has the legacy for the sport it should have.

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2 hours ago, Dunbar said:

While I think there is some merit in what you say (not sure why you had to drop in the Wigan Bateman and Thompson bait though) I watch Rugby League for more than just seeing the best of the best.

I watch the Academy series vs. the Australian Schoolboys knowing that both teams are not yet ready for first team rugby... but I enjoy it. 

I watch the amateur teams compete in the early rounds of the Challenge Cup knowing neither will reach the final... but I enjoy it. 

I watch the Championship Rugby League knowing it is not as good as Super League.... but I enjoy it. 

I watch Super League knowing it is not as good as the NRL.... but I enjoy it.

It helps me that I don't follow a club side and so I can enjoy the merits of each league/level without being subjectively dissatisfied with my teams standards.

I do not follow this "Wiganer Thompson bait" business.   He is from (hometown) St Helens isn't he,  Bold Miners.  So Wiki says... but it also says he has signed a 3 year deal with Souths.  Has someone told Eamonn?

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13 hours ago, leaguefan13 said:

Be a good replacement for George Burgess. I’m guessing a lot cheaper too 

I doubt he’ll be much cheaper his star is high and it’s rumoured he’s got multiple NRL clubs after him. 

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5 hours ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

Ended up quoting myself... duh

You could have at least carried on and agreed/disagreed with yourself. 😉

Edited by RayCee

My blog: https://rugbyl.blogspot.co.nz/

It takes wisdom to know when a discussion has run its course.

It takes reasonableness to end that discussion. 

 

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14 hours ago, Dunbar said:

No, my post was a consideration of the different types of players we have lost and at what stages of their careers/development they were to have a considered discussion on the impact that has on the quality of Super League.

Disagree with that assessment all you want but please don't try and argue that a player who never played Super League was one of the best 11 players in Super League and then have the temerity to accuse me of contortions. 

Not was, would be now.

Not having Burgess in the league now, today makes the league weaker by any measure. 

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6 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

Not was, would be now.

Not having Burgess in the league now, today makes the league weaker by any measure. 

Are you contorting again?

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22 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

Are you contorting again?

I'm not the one pretending that 28year olds don't count for some reason.

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13 hours ago, Lowdesert said:

When have we attracted the best players?  The best Australians I can remember were Sterling, Lewis, Kenny, Meninga, Miles and before that, Beetson.  They only came for a short while and a hell of a lot bombed.  We've had better value from the NZ players overall.  In the scale of things the best have been relatively few.

Its no different now and Clubs have the opportunity to lash out for the best if they can afford it.  Most choose not to. 

It is different now, the quality of what we bring in now is lower than it was previously.

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14 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

I'm not the one pretending that 28year olds don't count for some reason.

No, that's not what I said.  What I said was that Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins contributed 10+ years to Super League while others left at the height of their careers and would have contributed more if they had stayed in Super League.  This is a very reasonable thing to say when talking about how players moving to the NRL impacts the quality of Super League.

After my post, you jumped straight in to say that "taking the best 11 players out of the league is going to damage it" when two of the players I listed never even played in Super League... since then you have just been jumping around all over the place trying to justify this remark.

My point is, and remains, that George Burgess and Gareth Widdop in the NRL has not reduced the quality of the sport we see here because they didn't play first team rugby.  Of course they had the potential to play first team rugby but objectively the quality has not been reduced from what we have seen over the last few years as their talents have not been demonstrated in the league and then removed as we have seen with the likes of Graham, Bateman and Sam Burgess.

I was merely putting the English NRL based players in context and once again, you just wanted to jump in with an argument which was immediately proven as knee jerk and now you are trying to save face.

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16 hours ago, Dunbar said:

What is the trend though. The last 12 months or so has seen two English internationals move over there in Ryan Hall and John Bateman and two English internationals move back in Sarginson and Joe Greenwood.

Next year Watkins will be in the NRL but Widdop will be in Super League.

I personally think that having a potential pathway to a career in Australia in the premier rugby competition in the world is a positive when attracting young talent to our sport.... I am sure that Sam Burgess et all are a good role model/motivator for the English Academy and youth teams.

Not sure I could put together a reliable trend analysis but I just sense there are a lot more British players in the NRL than there were 25 years ago when I first started watching the sport.  I agree with your last para; I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.  I suspect the average spell in the NRL is around the 3 - 4 year mark so it's not like we always lose our best players for their whole career.

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17 hours ago, Lowdesert said:

What do you do if the salary is better?  Sure, it’s not everything but in what can be a short period where you can earn well, why not?

 

 

 

I agree with you

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1 minute ago, Tonka said:

Not sure I could put together a reliable trend analysis but I just sense there are a lot more British players in the NRL than there were 25 years ago when I first started watching the sport.  I agree with your last para; I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.  I suspect the average spell in the NRL is around the 3 - 4 year mark so it's not like we always lose our best players for their whole career.

I think there are certainly more players playing permanently down under but that is probably more of a consequence of the seasons now being in sync so short term spells are no longer valid.

We saw Andy Gregory, Kevin Ward, Ellery Hanley, Martin Offiah, Jonathan Davies, Sean Edwards, Andy Currier, Joe Lydon and others play in the ARL over the years but they didn't feel lost to our game.  The dynamic is different now as players will sign up for long term deals but I expect that we will see them back in the UK as well.

I think there is certainly an argument that says losing players at the peak of their careers such as Bateman is damaging to the league over here but I am really not sure what the answer is to stop it.

From a personal perspective, watching the English lads go around in the NRL is probably the part of Rugby League I am enjoying the most at the moment.

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1 hour ago, Dunbar said:

No, that's not what I said.  What I said was that Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins contributed 10+ years to Super League while others left at the height of their careers and would have contributed more if they had stayed in Super League.  This is a very reasonable thing to say when talking about how players moving to the NRL impacts the quality of Super League.

After my post, you jumped straight in to say that "taking the best 11 players out of the league is going to damage it" when two of the players I listed never even played in Super League... since then you have just been jumping around all over the place trying to justify this remark.

My point is, and remains, that George Burgess and Gareth Widdop in the NRL has not reduced the quality of the sport we see here because they didn't play first team rugby.  Of course they had the potential to play first team rugby but objectively the quality has not been reduced from what we have seen over the last few years as their talents have not been demonstrated in the league and then removed as we have seen with the likes of Graham, Bateman and Sam Burgess.

I was merely putting the English NRL based players in context and once again, you just wanted to jump in with an argument which was immediately proven as knee jerk and now you are trying to save face.

The loss of George Burgess has reduced the quality of SL. Had he not moved to the NRL he would have come through in to SL and SL would have been better for it. 

It's silly to say that because he had not yet made his debut we didn't lose out on what he became. 

According to your logic had Jamie Peacock retired at 20 having given up whilst on loan at Fev, Super League would not have missed out on the 15 years of great performances he went on to contribute. We wouldnt have missed out on one of the best players of the Super League era and it would have been no loss to SL. 

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3 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

The loss of George Burgess has reduced the quality of SL. Had he not moved to the NRL he would have come through in to SL and SL would have been better for it. 

It's silly to say that because he had not yet made his debut we didn't lose out on what he became. 

According to your logic had Jamie Peacock retired at 20 having given up whilst on loan at Fev, Super League would not have missed out on the 15 years of great performances he went on to contribute. We wouldnt have missed out on one of the best players of the Super League era and it would have been no loss to SL. 

Stop being so binary in your thinking... I am trying to put these different players into context.  I have agreed that losing George Burgess from Super League hurts it (the same with Widdop) from a quality perspective.

But...

Losing Burgess and Widdop before their careers lift off is different to losing a player in his early 20's who is already a star player in Super league who then leaves and this is different again to a player like Hall or Watkins who have contributed a decade of quality to our league.

Can you not see this?

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