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Schoey: Young players deserve more opportunities


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I am going to start by apologising about the length of this post... I got carried away. ...........................................................................................................

Salford - 6.  Leeds - 6.  Saints - 4.  Wigan - 4.  That’s the number of players who played in the two major finals in 2020 who are born in the Southern Hemisphere and who come through NRL A

Can be summed up quite simply, the game was rougher then, but it is harder now.

A couple of points that I wholeheartedly agree with in there. Not least the need to give talented youngsters more chances more quickly.  I find it paradoxical that the NRL is a tougher comp and higher standard than Super League but top level young players seem to get an opportunity to cement a first team spot more often than over here.

I also agree on the lack of reserve team rugby. That key transition from age group to first team if a player is not quite ready. 

The number of overseas players in the comp is also an eternal question and how much it holds back junior talent.

What I don't agree on is his view of the Academy output. Players are much better developed by the junior system now than when the players Schofield mentions came through.  In fact some of them probably got a first team game because there was no real junior systems to incubate their obvious talent.

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Got to say I agree with a lot of what he says on this. Coaches need to promote young players more and stop signing fringe players from Australia to play their position. 

We've shown that our elite young players are more than a match for the Aussies but the step from Academy to first team needs to be looked at as well as the amount of quota spots available 

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Some coaches seem to default to journeymen whenever there's an opportunity to play a junior, and only pick kids when they have no other choice. Its the seemingly 'safe' option but we've all seen players hanging around given endless chances often out of position at the expense of a kid who might actually be much better if given a chance.  Then they get locked in a vicious cycle where the junior option doesn't get any experience and doesn't get a chance because they don't have experience.....

Schofield is absolutely correct that the ability to fill out a team with overseas nobodies to fill gaps blocks development pathways as well.

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Hence why in the 'Rival Round' thread I suggested that i'd like to see a 'Home Grown' round introduced, possibly at the Magic weekend where every team must play say 13 of their 17 who are home grown players in that round.

It wouldn't take long for clubs to buck their ideas up and invest more in their own juniors once they realized they would end up getting a hammering in this round every year by clubs who do invest & promote their young players.

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Adios EU - Global Britain here we come !!!

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I've said it for a very long time, limit any club to 4 overseas personnel which I would go as far to say would be non-trained here as a junior and include non of the resident nonsense, and if any club wishes to employ an overseas coach he becomes one of the 4 i.e. part of the count.

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I really don't get the dismissive attitude or the hate for overseas players at all. Some the players I've most enjoyed watching over the years have been from overseas, and I support a club that doesn't have much trouble promoting it's own talent. Overseas players make our competition more exciting and more attractive. 

There's also not that much evidence to suggest that changing the overseas quota (as we did in the late 00s to mitigate the impact of Kolpack) has any benefit to the national team. It doesn't suddenly increase the talent pool or improve junior-level coaching, which is arguably a bigger issue. 

I read that column and parts of it come across very much as "old man doesn't like change and thinks the foriegners are to blame, Brexit means Brexit". Strength and conditioning have come a long way since Schofield, Shaun Edwards and Mike Gregory were kids so yeah, I could probably understand why coaches might think it's unwise (or even unsafe) to throw 17 year-olds into first team action against players who have had a ten-year or more head start on the protein supplements. I think he's right to suggest that reserve or A-grade rugby can bridge that gap but equally, clubs have the option to send players out on loan to get a similar experience. 

There's also an elephant in the room and that's relegation. When you put such huge commercial pressure on player performance, coaches and chairmen are naturally going to take lower-risk approaches and that usually means bringing in experienced, if unspectacular, players from whoever is available on the market. No chairman is going to risk their share of the Sky money on a 17-year-old half back and if people want to persist with this idea that "promotion and relegation is part of the British sporting psyche and must be retained", then that is the flip-side of that coin. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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Salford - 6. 
Leeds - 6. 
Saints - 4. 
Wigan - 4. 

That’s the number of players who played in the two major finals in 2020 who are born in the Southern Hemisphere and who come through NRL Academies. That equates to less than 30% of players involved in those two games. Conversely, those four finalists produced thirty-four of those sixty-eight playing finalists. The issue isn’t players from overseas. 

 

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35 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

I really don't get the dismissive attitude or the hate for overseas players at all. Some the players I've most enjoyed watching over the years have been from overseas, and I support a club that doesn't have much trouble promoting it's own talent. Overseas players make our competition more exciting and more attractive. 

There's also not that much evidence to suggest that changing the overseas quota (as we did in the late 00s to mitigate the impact of Kolpack) has any benefit to the national team. It doesn't suddenly increase the talent pool of improve junior-level coaching, which is arguably a bigger issue. 

I read that column and parts of it come across very much as "old man doesn't like change and thinks the foriegners are to blame, Brexit means Brexit". Strength and conditioning have come a long way since Schofield, Shaun Edwards and Mike Gregory were kids so yeah, I could probably understand why coaches might think it's unwise (or even unsafe) to throw 17 year-olds into first team action against players who have had a ten-year or more head start on the protein supplements. I think he's right to suggest that reserve or A-grade rugby can bridge that gap but equally, clubs have the option to send players out on loan to get a similar experience. 

There's also an elephant in the room and that's relegation. When you put such huge commercial pressure on player performance, coaches and chairmen are naturally going to take lower-risk approaches and that usually means bringing in experienced, if unspectacular, players from whoever is available on the market. No chairman is going to risk their share of the Sky money on a 17-year-old half back and if people want to persist with this idea that "promotion and relegation is part of the British sporting psyche and must be retained", then that is the flip-side of that coin. 

Why is it when one can speak from expierence has Mr Schofield and can actually relate by comparrison of having lived through many era's, those who can only comprehend, connect and identify with one of those factions employ the "old man doesn't like change" attitude.

Some people who pen quite a number of posts on this site and come over as very opinionated are by their own admission chronologically devoid of making comparrisons, I too in years gone past was of the same ilk and would argue with anyone that progressive years would always mean things have improved from yesteryear, but as time passes those thoughts become tempered and consideration evolves that all is not actually better than once was with the present day influences and thinking.

There are lots of things in many walks of life that are much better than they ever were, but not all, and Rugby League Football firmly in my opinion falls into that category.

Yes I do agree with your last paragraph and therein we have a problem re P & R  but with a good dose of looking at I would sooner it be retained than abandoned, what about say all teams being subject to reverting to a reserve league, the number of imports being reduced in number or even a Cap within the SC on overseas players subject to them having attained a certain standard and also being age goverened could be a good starting point, reducing the number of interchanges is another - a reserve league would ensure no reduction in the number of player's is required by a club - but whatever we do we need to do something to bring more player's through, one doesn't need expierence to realise that Rugby League in GB is quickly approaching a crossroads in that it needs to change things in domestic playing numbers and quickly, heading along the same path is not an option.

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27 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Salford - 6. 
Leeds - 6. 
Saints - 4. 
Wigan - 4. 

That’s the number of players who played in the two major finals in 2020 who are born in the Southern Hemisphere and who come through NRL Academies. That equates to less than 30% of players involved in those two games. Conversely, those four finalists produced thirty-four of those sixty-eight playing finalists. The issue isn’t players from overseas. 

 

Last count there were 90+ overseas player's employed in the British game.

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Just now, Harry Stottle said:

Last count there were 90+ overseas player's employed in the British game.

2.5 per club over 36 clubs. It’s not an issue. Even if that ninety was just Super League, it equates to 7.5 players per club, when many have squads of 25+. 

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There's some aspects I can maybe see, that's to say imports should be of a higher quality than what clubs with academies can produce. 

That said these clubs aren't charities and with promotion and relegation can't afford to take too many risks with the playing roster.

Its about balance. English/British players need opportunities, but they also need opportunities in the most competitive environment possible - something which is simply unachievable without imports. I certainly wouldn't want to think I've only got a place in a squad because I'm English and ticked a box for example. The fundamental problem is that the competition in Super League hasn't been of a high enough standard across the board to compare with the NRL for quite some time, if ever. Quite fundamentally the only way to redress that imbalance is to bring in superior talent.

There's also the elephant in the room that for a good while now (though some hope may remain), antipodean youth systems just seem to produce more quality players, particularly on the athletic front. Take home grown 2020 Super League top try scorer Ash Handley, nobody can seriously say he'd displace the vast majority of wingers in the NRL, and the same is true for so many backs we have produced and nutured over here. Likewise our forwards can often compete with the very best but its not like for like. 

If the argument then is that competition/standards in academies is low because M62 playing numbers are low, then the obvious solution is to start looking elsewhere. It shouldn't even be a debate as to whether Wales and France should be looked at by talent scouts.

The NRL provides the best players to the Australian team because they say we want the best League in the world, the Kangaroos will benefit from that.

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24 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Why is it when one can speak from expierence has Mr Schofield and can actually relate by comparrison of having lived through many era's, those who can only comprehend, connect and identify with one of those factions employ the "old man doesn't like change" attitude.

Some people who pen quite a number of posts on this site and come over as very opinionated are by their own admission chronologically devoid of making comparrisons, I too in years gone past was of the same ilk and would argue with anyone that progressive years would always mean things have improved from yesteryear, but as time passes those thoughts become tempered and consideration evolves that all is not actually better than once was with the present day influences and thinking.

There are lots of things in many walks of life that are much better than they ever were, but not all, and Rugby League Football firmly in my opinion falls into that category.

Yes I do agree with your last paragraph and therein we have a problem re P & R  but with a good dose of looking at I would sooner it be retained than abandoned, what about say all teams being subject to reverting to a reserve league, the number of imports being reduced in number or even a Cap within the SC on overseas players subject to them having attained a certain standard and also being age goverened could be a good starting point, reducing the number of interchanges is another - a reserve league would ensure no reduction in the number of player's is required by a club - but whatever we do we need to do something to bring more player's through, one doesn't need expierence to realise that Rugby League in GB is quickly approaching a crossroads in that it needs to change things in domestic playing numbers and quickly, heading along the same path is not an option.

You can't deny though H that some of it sounds like peak "back in my day" rose tinted spectacles nonsense that really doesn't stand up to any serious interrogation or fact checking.

We're experiencing a double edged sword of not enough youth players (caveat "on clubs doorsteps") with not enough of those youth players being of the highest standard. It needs some outside the box (or M62) thinking and a good dose of investment. Given how little some clubs invest in their youth systems anyway that seems unlikely, especially with the spectre of relegation hanging over teams and no real transfer market.

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24 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

2.5 per club over 36 clubs. It’s not an issue. Even if that ninety was just Super League, it equates to 7.5 players per club, when many have squads of 25+. 

Exactly, so we have this mythical English dominated competition, its just not as good as the NRL

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33 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Why is it when one can speak from expierence has Mr Schofield and can actually relate by comparrison of having lived through many era's, those who can only comprehend, connect and identify with one of those factions employ the "old man doesn't like change" attitude.

Some people who pen quite a number of posts on this site and come over as very opinionated are by their own admission chronologically devoid of making comparrisons, I too in years gone past was of the same ilk and would argue with anyone that progressive years would always mean things have improved from yesteryear, but as time passes those thoughts become tempered and consideration evolves that all is not actually better than once was with the present day influences and thinking.

There are lots of things in many walks of life that are much better than they ever were, but not all, and Rugby League Football firmly in my opinion falls into that category.

Yes I do agree with your last paragraph and therein we have a problem re P & R  but with a good dose of looking at I would sooner it be retained than abandoned, what about say all teams being subject to reverting to a reserve league, the number of imports being reduced in number or even a Cap within the SC on overseas players subject to them having attained a certain standard and also being age goverened could be a good starting point, reducing the number of interchanges is another - a reserve league would ensure no reduction in the number of player's is required by a club - but whatever we do we need to do something to bring more player's through, one doesn't need expierence to realise that Rugby League in GB is quickly approaching a crossroads in that it needs to change things in domestic playing numbers and quickly, heading along the same path is not an option.

I'm not saying that Schofield's views are wrong or don't have merit, but I am saying that they show a lack of nuance or appreciation that the environment in which teenagers come into the game today is not the same as it was when he was playing. Schofield's columns come across as ranty at the best of times and this is just another one of those cases. 

Juxtaposing the issue of players having to wait until their early 20s to make their debut alongside the issue of overseas players seems to suggest that he thinks overseas players are the problem and/or a bad thing. I think they are neither. Overseas players are a good thing in our game and I don't think they're the reason why 17-19-year-olds can't get a debut in the way that he and his generation could. The game is different, it's much more physical than it was when he was a teenager and the commercial stakes today are much higher. 

I don't see the merit in putting arbritrary limits on overseas players. Why only four players / coaches? Why not three? Why not six? I don't see what it achieves in terms of improving English-born talent, I don't think limiting number of overseas players improves the commercial appeal of the sport and do I think that overseas players are largely a strawman distract from the real issues. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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26 minutes ago, Hela Wigmen said:

2.5 per club over 36 clubs. It’s not an issue. Even if that ninety was just Super League, it equates to 7.5 players per club, when many have squads of 25+. 

 

1 hour ago, Hela Wigmen said:

Salford - 6. 
Leeds - 6. 
Saints - 4. 
Wigan - 4. 

That’s the number of players who played in the two major finals in 2020 who are born in the Southern Hemisphere and who come through NRL Academies. That equates to less than 30% of players involved in those two games. Conversely, those four finalists produced thirty-four of those sixty-eight playing finalists. The issue isn’t players from overseas. 

 

I have not bothered to check if any overseas player's on those club registers did not take the field in those games, but one thought did accur to me when in another thread we were discussing academies three out of the four finalists you mention were being lauded (and quite rightly so) as the flagships of our clubs in producing player's through their respective programmes, so is it not exactly the same respect that how some clubs are fearful of relegation the same can be applied to the other end of the division that there is a fear of not winning silverware that prompts clubs to look overseas

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10 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

 

I have not bothered to check if any overseas player's on those club registers did not take the field in those games, but one thought did accur to me when in another thread we were discussing academies three out of the four finalists you mention were being lauded (and quite rightly so) as the flagships of our clubs in producing player's through their respective programmes, so is it not exactly the same respect that how some clubs are fearful of relegation the same can be applied to the other end of the division that there is a fear of not winning silverware that prompts clubs to look overseas

That's because the risk of losing regular season games because of a few more green players is far lower for those top teams who also tend to have the best young players anyway and in numerous cases have sent them on loan to other championship or even Super League clubs for experience.

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14 minutes ago, whatmichaelsays said:

The game is different, it's much more physical than it was when he was a teenager 

I am not going to labour on this subject much longer, a lot of it (like a number of other threads) are repeats of the same discussions previously argued, but I don't think that the physicality is an issue, I will also say that the enviroment on the field of play is a much safer place to be these day's, for good or bad dependent on one's stance the game has been 'sanitised' far from what teenagers of Mr Schofield day were subject to, and the forwards were not getting a rest every 15 or so minutes.

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3 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

That's because the risk of losing regular season games because of a few more green players is far lower for those top teams who also tend to have the best young players anyway and in numerous cases have sent them on loan to other championship or even Super League clubs for experience.

Then keep them "in house" in a properly run and organised reserve League, surely they will advance much quicker in their own environ, training and learning from their respective coaches and expierenced player's in the stratergies and game plans in theur own clubs, other than being loaned out to some other club.

And from your side of the touchline Tommy if you were anything like me as a spectator it is wonderful to attend 'A' team games to watch and witness a lads development.

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3 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

Then keep them "in house" in a properly run and organised reserve League, surely they will advance much quicker in their own environ, training and learning from their respective coaches and expierenced player's in the stratergies and game plans in theur own clubs, other than being loaned out to some other club.

And from your side of the touchline Tommy if you were anything like me as a spectator it is wonderful to attend 'A' team games to watch and witness a lads development.

I don't have anything against a reserve league H, (though like football I'd want it to be ran as an u23s with a number of overage players coming forward). I would question the investment in it though, if reserves aren't full time what is the point? That said too there are some limitations. Right now we currently are asking 15/16/17/18 year olds to sacrifice a lot to appease the need to fill academy squads so that maybe a handful of young lads make it, I don't really see much benefit in extending that specific system onto 20 and above.

Loans can be good for all parties involved. Oledzki at Leeds is a prime example of that given his time at Bradford and Fev amongst others.

I understand the attraction of reserve teams H and the benefits they could bring, playing games at community clubs midweek for example, I'm just not sure the game as it is currently set up can sustain them. Or rather, that only the most secure in status and financially prosperous clubs in Super League can sustain them to a standard that is worthwhile.

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21 minutes ago, Harry Stottle said:

I am not going to labour on this subject much longer, a lot of it (like a number of other threads) are repeats of the same discussions previously argued, but I don't think that the physicality is an issue, I will also say that the enviroment on the field of play is a much safer place to be these day's, for good or bad dependent on one's stance the game has been 'sanitised' far from what teenagers of Mr Schofield day were subject to, and the forwards were not getting a rest every 15 or so minutes.

Can be summed up quite simply, the game was rougher then, but it is harder now.

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