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Brian Carney: RL misses talent from under its nose


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I would think that there are plenty of players playing Union who would suit League.  Just because a player walks into a Union clubhouse instead of a League one it doesn't negate his talent... it just

The report was all going well and made a sense right up to the very last sentance :- "Dedicate some money to get some competent scouts and go and look – it’s not even under a stone, they’re hidde

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The report was all going well and made a sense right up to the very last sentance :-

"Dedicate some money to get some competent scouts and go and look – it’s not even under a stone, they’re hidden in full sight.”

I am sure the RFL and SL can find much better things to spend money on than unearthing latent talent.

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Yes I was surprised at reading this to be honest. I rarely disagree with Brian Carney. But to suggest spending (our very limited) money and resources on poaching talent, to me, is about as unambitious and short-soghted as you can get.

Just look at the ARU, they spent a fortune on poach RL talent like Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers, Tuqiri and Folau, yet invested nothing in grassroots. That is what largely led to their the current mess they are in.

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It's not just paying scouts to find candidates, they then have to be funded to come over for trials and a period of training - it all costs money and the RFL/SL are skint.

I'd rather money was spent helping the Irish RL set up more amateur clubs, that develops the grassroots, increases awareness and  doubles as a scouting system - Ronan Michael came through the Longhorns system.

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16 minutes ago, Whippet13 said:

It's not just paying scouts to find candidates, they then have to be funded to come over for trials and a period of training - it all costs money and the RFL/SL are skint.

I'd rather money was spent helping the Irish RL set up more amateur clubs, that develops the grassroots, increases awareness and  doubles as a scouting system - Ronan Michael came through the Longhorns system.

The argument is that they aren't even looking at those much either though.

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Carney talks a lot of sense here. We fish from the same pool constantly and that pool isn't exactly growing. In fact, since RU went open in 95, our domestic pool has gotten significantly smaller and brought in a lot of Australasian players instead.

Between Rugby Union and Gaelic Football there are some top athletes that are going under our radar in Britain and Ireland. Its a shame because when we do put the effort in we reap the rewards massively, see Reagan Grace or Mr Carney himself for example. These aren't the big expensive top level players (arguably none of those exist in GAA anyway) but the players who for lack of opportunity and exposure have never had the chance or a look in at RL. Top athletes and players are still out there.

The lad at Huddersfield is a good example of what needs to be built on in a sustainable way going forwards. I believe Coventry have a few Irish lads too thanks to an Irish interest in their ownership? If Irish, and indeed any RL set up, can offer at least a small window of opportunity for progression into the professional game then it should be encouraged. If licensing ever did return I'd give clubs specific areas (individually or jointly) to support the development of RL there and even provide a pathway to Super League.

Scottish RU is in an even worse position than RL in that its got a very small player pool, so they employ a development scout (or at least afaik did employ) to search for Scottish heritage junior players. That lead to Calumn Mclelland "going north" as a relevant example here. I don't know whether that is something to consider for RL, but I don't think the ad hoc nature of club recruitment is going to cut it much longer. The big clubs can suck up most of the top talent and instead of searching in these other places, some clubs just say there's not enough talent on their doorstep and give up there.

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34 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

The argument is that they aren't even looking at those much either though.

I would argue that they do to some extent. Irish, Scottish, Welsh teams play in the Challenge Cup and several (excluding Ireland) play in English leagues too.

But I think he is mixing two very different topics here. 

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19 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Carney talks a lot of sense here. We fish from the same pool constantly and that pool isn't exactly growing. In fact, since RU went open in 95, our domestic pool has gotten significantly smaller and brought in a lot of Australasian players instead.

Between Rugby Union and Gaelic Football there are some top athletes that are going under our radar in Britain and Ireland. Its a shame because when we do put the effort in we reap the rewards massively, see Reagan Grace or Mr Carney himself for example. These aren't the big expensive top level players (arguably none of those exist in GAA anyway) but the players who for lack of opportunity and exposure have never had the chance or a look in at RL. Top athletes and players are still out there.

The lad at Huddersfield is a good example of what needs to be built on in a sustainable way going forwards. I believe Coventry have a few Irish lads too thanks to an Irish interest in their ownership? If Irish, and indeed any RL set up, can offer at least a small window of opportunity for progression into the professional game then it should be encouraged. If licensing ever did return I'd give clubs specific areas (individually or jointly) to support the development of RL there and even provide a pathway to Super League.

Scottish RU is in an even worse position than RL in that its got a very small player pool, so they employ a development scout (or at least afaik did employ) to search for Scottish heritage junior players. That lead to Calumn Mclelland "going north" as a relevant example here. I don't know whether that is something to consider for RL, but I don't think the ad hoc nature of club recruitment is going to cut it much longer. The big clubs can suck up most of the top talent and instead of searching in these other places, some clubs just say there's not enough talent on their doorstep and give up there.

The trouble is that (as @Whippet13pointed out) they can't afford to scout and recruit those athletes because British RL has such a small time low budget operation.  Even if they could afford to look at RU players they sure can't afford to sign any of them because RU pays a lot better than RL now.  The game needs a solution to that financial disparity before it can bring any significant number of players over from RU again.

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13 minutes ago, langpark said:

I would argue that they do to some extent. Irish, Scottish, Welsh teams play in the Challenge Cup and several (excluding Ireland) play in English leagues too.

But I think he is mixing two very different topics here. 

The clubs that is sorry I should have made myself clearer.

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I think he’s muddling up a few different topics into one and it’s come out a bit of a mess, really. 

The RFL shouldn’t be expected to scout anyone. I’m not sure why he thinks they should be or what they’d do with these players once they’d been identified. There really isn’t the money in the game for The RFL or Super League to be undertaking such extra activities. 

Clubs being more flexible with the scouting would be great in an ideal world and I imagine that, to some extent, the bigger clubs already do. I can only speak from a Saints perspective but in recent years we’ve had players from Cumbria, Telford, South Wales, France and Ireland and I imagine Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and probably a couple of others look further afield too. For the less affluent clubs, is the cost of running an Academy worth the outlay if you’re gambling so much on raw athletes from outside of the sport or from across the country? Quite possibly not.

I know people have suggested drafts in the past and maybe there’s a case for something like that at Academy level but ultimately, where does the finance come for it? The clubs, possibly. It could run alongside what we have now so that the successful clubs can still do what they’re doing but it’s all down to finance, or the lack of, essentially. 

Edited by Hela Wigmen
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15 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

I think he’s muddling up a few different topics into one and it’s come out a bit of a mess, really. 

The RFL shouldn’t be expected to scout anyone. I’m not sure why he thinks they should be or what they’d do with these players once they’d been identified. There really isn’t the money in the game for The RFL or Super League to be undertaking such extra activities. 

Clubs being more flexible with the scouting would be great in an ideal world and I imagine that, to some extent, the bigger clubs already do. I can only speak from a Saints perspective but in recent years we’ve had players from Cumbria, Telford, South Wales, France and Ireland and I imagine Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and probably a couple of others look further afield too. For the less affluent clubs, is the cost of running an Academy worth the outweigh if you’re gambling so much on raw athletes from outside of the sport or from across the country? Quite possibly not.

I know people have suggested drafts in the past and maybe there’s a case for something like that at Academy level but ultimately, where does the finance come for it? The clubs, possibly. It could run alongside what we have now so that the successful clubs can still do what they’re doing but it’s all down to finance, or the lack of, essentially. 

I'd agree with this. 

I think the sentiment of Carney's argument is right. I think the game probably does have too narrow a view on talent identification, but I'm not entirely sure that what he suggests is really the answer. 

The problem we have is largely down to too few clubs investing nearly enough in talent development and a narrowing player pool. 

For the bigger clubs that do invest in player development, for them it's relatively easy to take a narrow view. There are only so many players that they can realistically take on each year, they tend to get their pick of the best ones that are on their doorstep, leaving the smaller clubs to fight for the scraps. For them, there is no real incentive to start looking at GAA or RU converts (and Leeds, for example, have been down the latter route before with the Tykes / Carnegie). 

For the other clubs, the risk/reward balance in recruiting GAA and RU converts just isn't there. They aren't investing enough in player development to give those converts the right pathways and RL education and, in trying to run their clubs on a shoestring, they're looking for as many "safe bets" as they can to simply preserve their SL status for another year. 

 

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I would think that there are plenty of players playing Union who would suit League.  Just because a player walks into a Union clubhouse instead of a League one it doesn't negate his talent... it just means he will be coached so that his game suits that code more.

But I am not keen on the sport overall making an investment in scouts (fine if the clubs choose to), I would much prefer an investment in development officers and see if we can direct any talent to the League code in the first place.  Seeing Union grow and then trying to cream off some talent is not a long term strategy to grow the game.

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9 minutes ago, Dunbar said:

I would think that there are plenty of players playing Union who would suit League.  Just because a player walks into a Union clubhouse instead of a League one it doesn't negate his talent... it just means he will be coached so that his game suits that code more.

But I am not keen on the sport overall making an investment in scouts (fine if the clubs choose to), I would much prefer an investment in development officers and see if we can direct any talent to the League code in the first place.  Seeing Union grow and then trying to cream off some talent is not a long term strategy to grow the game.

There's a steady flow of GAA players going to the AFL at the minute it seems. Does anyone know how they're identified - or is it seen as such a normal route now that players (agents?) put themselves forward?

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

There's a steady flow of GAA players going to the AFL at the minute it seems. Does anyone know how they're identified - or is it seen as such a normal route now that players (agents?) put themselves forward?

GAA players are officially amateur ( yes the top ones get  ' boot money ') hence the increasing drift into AFL and RU.

Part of Joe Lydon's brief with the Irish is to talent spot from other codes and more interestingly to search worldwide for heritage players.

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

There's a steady flow of GAA players going to the AFL at the minute it seems. Does anyone know how they're identified - or is it seen as such a normal route now that players (agents?) put themselves forward?

They have even introduced "the mark" into football to get them ready for Australia 😀

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

There's a steady flow of GAA players going to the AFL at the minute it seems. Does anyone know how they're identified - or is it seen as such a normal route now that players (agents?) put themselves forward?

Some AFL agents have hosted recruitment scouting camps Ireland.

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

There's a steady flow of GAA players going to the AFL at the minute it seems. Does anyone know how they're identified - or is it seen as such a normal route now that players (agents?) put themselves forward?

I'd say there are talent scouts.

This topic has really pointed bout the difference in SL compared to the NRL. The NRL has scouts everywhere. All throughout the Pacific. If there's talent in either code (or even other sports) the NRL knows about it and normally gets their man. The only time they don't is occasionally when a certain player is set on an All Blacks jersey. But it's becoming more rare.

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4 hours ago, Tommygilf said:

Carney talks a lot of sense here. We fish from the same pool constantly and that pool isn't exactly growing. In fact, since RU went open in 95, our domestic pool has gotten significantly smaller and brought in a lot of Australasian players instead.

Between Rugby Union and Gaelic Football there are some top athletes that are going under our radar in Britain and Ireland. Its a shame because when we do put the effort in we reap the rewards massively, see Reagan Grace or Mr Carney himself for example. These aren't the big expensive top level players (arguably none of those exist in GAA anyway) but the players who for lack of opportunity and exposure have never had the chance or a look in at RL. Top athletes and players are still out there.

The lad at Huddersfield is a good example of what needs to be built on in a sustainable way going forwards. I believe Coventry have a few Irish lads too thanks to an Irish interest in their ownership? If Irish, and indeed any RL set up, can offer at least a small window of opportunity for progression into the professional game then it should be encouraged. If licensing ever did return I'd give clubs specific areas (individually or jointly) to support the development of RL there and even provide a pathway to Super League.

Scottish RU is in an even worse position than RL in that its got a very small player pool, so they employ a development scout (or at least afaik did employ) to search for Scottish heritage junior players. That lead to Calumn Mclelland "going north" as a relevant example here. I don't know whether that is something to consider for RL, but I don't think the ad hoc nature of club recruitment is going to cut it much longer. The big clubs can suck up most of the top talent and instead of searching in these other places, some clubs just say there's not enough talent on their doorstep and give up there.

4 South African born players  were selected in the recent 40 man Scotland squad.

I'm not sure where that fits in the discussion here.  Except it's clear that you dont really need to grow your own players these days... especially if you've got enough money.

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While grassroots investment in RL is important, the idea that you are going to find the next Cameron Smith playing amateur RL on a paddock out the back of a supermarket in Belfast is wishful thinking. The elite talent that RL needs in developing nations is most likely going to come from other sports.

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I seem to recall reading that Salford and WIgan have linked with the Welsh RL and West Wales to provide a talent pathway, which seems a sensible approach. It would obviously take a while to bear fruit, but I hope the clubs stick with it. Wales, in particular, I have always felt is an undertapped resource, especially North Wales, being so close to the heartlands.

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4 hours ago, eal said:

While grassroots investment in RL is important, the idea that you are going to find the next Cameron Smith playing amateur RL on a paddock out the back of a supermarket in Belfast is wishful thinking. The elite talent that RL needs in developing nations is most likely going to come from other sports.

Remind me of how many Cameron Smiths (I assume you are not referring to the Leeds Rhinos player) we have unearthed on the playing fields of Wigan, St Helens, Leeds etc. or even a Thurston, Slater, Inglis, Cronk?

Over the last few years some people have even argued that the game did not have enough players to supplement TWP, Ottawa or New York!  So surely it is time to stop looking inward and explore what is out there.

We are not looking for the next superstar, but for players that might be better or have the potential to be better than what clubs may have.  And if clubs want to offer trials to players at these events then that is their decision and they fund the trial period.

Carney is right insofar that RL clubs do not explore other pools of talent.  His solution was flawed but the gist seems reasonable to me.

What would be the cost for the RFL/SL to jointly organise, say 7, RL trials across the UK?  How about holding them in Ireland, Scotland, North, Midlands, South East, South West and South Wales.

If this is done in the summer what would the  costs be:

* Facility. Use University or College campus fields and gyms for the event and cheap lodgings and food for the Coaches running the trial.  There may even be an amateur RL in the area that can provide the pitch and gym facilities

* Trialists can be offered (at a college campus) a cheap package covering overnight accomodation and food or they may have friends and/or family in the area to stay with or commute from home.

* Promotion of the event - how expensive is it to run a promotion on social media?

* Insurance - is a non-negotiable in this day and age

* Refreshments during the coaching sessions.  Has the price of water suddenly exploded?  Is there a shortage of oranges and bananas that has sent the price soaring?  Tea and biscuits?

* Travelling expenses for the Coaching staff.  Surely 2 tanks of petrol each way would get them to anywhere on the mainland.  Plus payment for running each event.  Cheap seats on Ryan Air for the visit to Ireland

All clubs from the 3 tiers would be invited to send scouts to the trials of their choice at the cost to their club.

This isn’t difficult to organise and it can be an incredibly cost effective way for clubs, especially those outside SL, to have access to hundreds of potential players.

Edited by Adelaide Tiger
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I'd much rather spend money on development officers who can build the game in new areas, create a better pathway for young players with better coaching and better funded academies. 

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