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  1. #586
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    Dividing zones is the hardest part and NRL politics would come into play. Each of the categories you mention (and possibly more) would be measured and compared and the clubs would have to agree on how they are weighted (or get close and have an arbitrary decision by the Commission). A total score could then be compared and commensurate caps handed out to even up the disparities, with a goal to even up over time. For example, an unsettled area in a zone that was earmarked to become a big settlement would be an advantage over time but a disadvantage in the short term. The metrics would have to be adjusted every 3-5 years, I think.

    Zones would include parts of England, Pacific Islands and developing RL countries such as Serbia etc. Obviously those clubs like Melbourne might get all of Victoria, the Riverina, South Island NZ, some Fijian Islands and a couple of English feeder clubs, for example. Once the zones were agreed, it's up to the clubs to make their own beds and the cap to reduce out-of-zone imports.

    Some clubs would do it well and others not. They would lack results and buy in experts from successful clubs to show them how. Some areas within zones would develop quicker than others and hence the need for regular re-evaluation. Areas that develop strongly would have to be rewarded with more internationals, etc. But areas that develop strongly is only a good thing for Rugby League in the long term. It could help determine expansion, conferences, etc.

  2. #587
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaroonTitan View Post
    Dividing zones is the hardest part and NRL politics would come into play. Each of the categories you mention (and possibly more) would be measured and compared and the clubs would have to agree on how they are weighted (or get close and have an arbitrary decision by the Commission). A total score could then be compared and commensurate caps handed out to even up the disparities, with a goal to even up over time. For example, an unsettled area in a zone that was earmarked to become a big settlement would be an advantage over time but a disadvantage in the short term. The metrics would have to be adjusted every 3-5 years, I think.

    Zones would include parts of England, Pacific Islands and developing RL countries such as Serbia etc. Obviously those clubs like Melbourne might get all of Victoria, the Riverina, South Island NZ, some Fijian Islands and a couple of English feeder clubs, for example. Once the zones were agreed, it's up to the clubs to make their own beds and the cap to reduce out-of-zone imports.

    Some clubs would do it well and others not. They would lack results and buy in experts from successful clubs to show them how. Some areas within zones would develop quicker than others and hence the need for regular re-evaluation. Areas that develop strongly would have to be rewarded with more internationals, etc. But areas that develop strongly is only a good thing for Rugby League in the long term. It could help determine expansion, conferences, etc.
    Credit for thinking outside the box MT

    I get the theory, but I just can't see a world where this practically works, at least in the medium term. I'd be pretty filthy if I was the Melbourne Storm and my zones were Vic, Fijian Islands, and some countries where rugby league is the 27th preferred sport of young aspiring athletes (I've left out south island NZ because there's zero chance they'd allocate that entire space to a team). Meanwhile the Broncos get the most rugby-league dense region of Australia and they only have to allocate 1/50th of the cost for a higher return. Not to mention you've got to find a way to provide offshore kids that are 15-18 y/o the same level of growth and development in their home country that they would get in Australia, without actually playing the sport at the same level, unless they're shipped off as 14/15 year olds, which is unlikely. This particular issue already exists for kids in NZ signed by Aus clubs, and they struggle to even get them across the ditch sometimes as 16/17 year olds.

    High level, the cost/resourcing is probably the biggest limitation I'd think from the get go but I get that the theory assumes this isn't an issue.

    I think the easiest solution as a first step to balance things out at the front-end is just to impose limitations on contract spend for certain age groups. Force clubs to upskill their coaching, improve resources, and add value to their development program so they have to actually have a pitch that doesn't include more $ when trying to sign these kids. Then the cross-catchment poaching becomes an NRL issue that they can manage with boundaries/concessions/penalties/whatever...but that has to come with funding for the clubs lesser-privileged geographically, and even then I'm not sure there's a way that makes sense.
    Last edited by Hail Sezer; 22-02-24 at 09:42 AM.

  3. #588
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hail Sezer View Post
    Credit for thinking outside the box MT

    I get the theory, but I just can't see a world where this practically works, at least in the medium term. I'd be pretty filthy if I was the Melbourne Storm and my zones were Vic, Fijian Islands, and some countries where rugby league is the 27th preferred sport of young aspiring athletes (I've left out south island NZ because there's zero chance they'd allocate that entire space to a team). Meanwhile the Broncos get the most rugby-league dense region of Australia and they only have to allocate 1/50th of the cost for a higher return. Not to mention you've got to find a way to provide offshore kids that are 15-18 y/o the same level of growth and development in their home country that they would get in Australia, without actually playing the sport at the same level, unless they're shipped off as 14/15 year olds, which is unlikely. This particular issue already exists for kids in NZ signed by Aus clubs, and they struggle to even get them across the ditch sometimes as 16/17 year olds.

    High level, the cost/resourcing is probably the biggest limitation I'd think from the get go but I get that the theory assumes this isn't an issue.

    I think the easiest solution as a first step to balance things out at the front-end is just to impose limitations on contract spend for certain age groups. Force clubs to upskill their coaching, improve resources, and add value to their development program so they have to actually have a pitch that doesn't include more $ when trying to sign these kids. Then the cross-catchment poaching becomes an NRL issue that they can manage with boundaries/concessions/penalties/whatever...but that has to come with funding for the clubs lesser-privileged geographically, and even then I'm not sure there's a way that makes sense.
    Agree fully, HS. It's a long-term fix that also fixes the cap issues (and rorting). For now, it'd be better to go with your idea above.

    On the long-term plan, the areas within zones are up to the clubs to negotiate. I just gave those areas as an example. Wiser minds than mine will determine who gets what.

    And that's a great point about the kids growing up in areas that don't have good competitive levels of footy to develop with. It's also a project of promoting and expanding the game but incentivising the clubs to do the work. They would be given all the games' development resources to succeed. It would lead to clubs running junior and eventually senior competitions within their zones where there weren't before.

    In order to compete, there would be metrics applied to all these factors to get it off the ground. Possibly even a cap on what could be spent by clubs but also enabling Governments and the Private Sector to pour money in. It would also strengthen foreign policy objectives but that's a biproduct and not the aim.

  4. #589
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    Titans contracted centre Santino Pekepo-Tevaga featured by QRL this week for this performance in the weekend's CC game:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Drry...andRugbyLeague

    Still only 16 years old and just got off the plane from NZ so very early in his development, but he was one of the Titans 17's better players in their fixtures this year. Big body and will benefit significantly from being in the system here. Believe he's been placed at Keebra.
    Last edited by Hail Sezer; 22-02-24 at 03:27 PM.

  5. #590
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    You had to feel for Caelys Putoko last weekend, that was baptism by fire for the kid.
    Four reasons to escape to Queensland: Sun, Surf, Sand & the Titans.

  6. #591
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    Quote Originally Posted by Titanic View Post
    You had to feel for Caelys Putoko last weekend, that was baptism by fire for the kid.
    Haha poor bloke got thrown into the worst of it and learnt a few lessons early

    He’ll be a different player in 12 months time - he’s shown enough class in his games this year already to suggest he can be a force in the MM comp and put his hand up for Cup. Needs to learn what pretty much every young centre struggles with the most which is the defensive side of the game. A lot different to union
    Last edited by Hail Sezer; 22-02-24 at 09:33 PM.

  7. #592
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hail Sezer View Post
    Haha poor bloke got thrown into the worst of it and learnt a few lessons early

    He’ll be a different player in 12 months time - he’s shown enough class in his games this year already to suggest he can be a force in the MM comp and put his hand up for Cup. Needs to learn what pretty much every young centre struggles with the most which is the defensive side of the game. A lot different to union
    Agreed. If we can keep him, he will be an absolute gun as a centre. Has fantastic potential

  8. #593
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    Tweed MM come back from a 24-12 deficit with 20min to go to win 36-24 against Norths. Titans contracted prop Zac Kumbamong scores a hatrick in those final 20 mins by running over a bunch of blokes from 5m out, three times.

    A lucky escape for that side really. They didn't look too flash.

    Will need to be much better next week when they take on the Dolphins. They'll be hoping Stephenson is back for that match too.
    Last edited by Hail Sezer; 26-02-24 at 11:00 AM.

  9. #594
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    Tweed MM tie with the Dolphins 24 all on the weekend and have the bye this weekend.

    Burleigh MM had bye last weekend, play Norths this weekend.

    Ipswich MM smoked the Bulls - who respectfully look a few levels off the entire comp. Caelys was pretty good, starting to demand the ball more.

  10. #595
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    Caught up with the Jets cup game.

    Arama Hau looked good playing 80, was puffing at times and made a couple of errors pushing the ball but in the second half did a lot more good on both sides of the ball.

    The JDG stuff was weird, looked like it had no plan just switching between wing and fullback randomly, Blackhawks got their last try down that space and then went back and JDG ran the field on an intercept.

    R. Foran exceeded my expectations but they were low, Really good contact and wasn't giving up much pcm at all against guys with good experience, Forced an error with a great hit but got called not square (looked good to me), Physically looked fine.

  11. #596
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowabunga View Post
    Caught up with the Jets cup game.

    Arama Hau looked good playing 80, was puffing at times and made a couple of errors pushing the ball but in the second half did a lot more good on both sides of the ball.

    The JDG stuff was weird, looked like it had no plan just switching between wing and fullback randomly, Blackhawks got their last try down that space and then went back and JDG ran the field on an intercept.

    R. Foran exceeded my expectations but they were low, Really good contact and wasn't giving up much pcm at all against guys with good experience, Forced an error with a great hit but got called not square (looked good to me), Physically looked fine.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Arama is handling the physical side. He's carrying the ball very well - attracts at least 3 and they can't get him to the ground. Has a lot to work on in terms if discipline and defensive work but he's showing traits that will translate well. 151m from 10 carries is a good contribution.

    Jaylan's use was just silly. Complete waste.

    Not a junior but I'll add - was disappointed in Foxwell.

  12. #597
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    The Sydney Roosters are tossing the ‘salary sombrero’ in favour of a gardener’s hat to ‘fertilise’ the ground of the club’s junior pathways.

    It’s the reason general manager of football programs Craig Walker confidently declares the foundation franchise as a bona fide development club.

    “We are a player development club. Yes, the Roosters have had success with recruiting juniors and recruiting blue-chip recruits. But we’ve done well with developing players coming out at an early age,” Walker said.

    “But the reality is you can’t keep picking the fruit from the tree, you have to fertilise the ground. We’ve picked some fruit in the past and now we’re working hard on fertilising the bottom.”

    The Roosters have long been a major player in the recruitment market, more recently snaring the likes of Brandon Smith, Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco. With that has come jibes about the club’s lack of developed players.

    But the Bondi club says it is now a major pathways player.

    “It’s financially better than trying to cherry pick 21-year-olds. That costs a lot of money to get a player out of another club,” Walker said.

    The pathways have now ballooned to around 10,000 players, taking in catchments on the NSW Central Coast, Ipswich, New Zealand and 700 juniors in the club’s local district.

    The jewel in the pathways crown is the club’s Sydney based academy that brings together its elite juniors into a program designed to accelerate their development into the NRL.

    When club greats Mitchell Aubusson and Jake Friend were tasked with designing the academy program, one crucial piece of the puzzle was missing.

    The Roosters needed to find a place to house its regional and overseas players.

    Chairman Nick Politis solved the problem as quickly as it arose.

    “We had the training program, the style of play, but Nick wanted to know where they would live. Within 48 hours we purchased the block of units, we made a call that we’re going to go when we invest in our juniors,” Aubusson said.

    “It was eight units in Kingsford, built in 2000. We wanted to make sure they were set up for the guys so we renovated a couple of them.”

    The academy is designed to give the club’s brightest prospects a rugby league education five days a week.

    In between their junior representative training schedule, players receive specialist positional training, work on strength and conditioning and even get nutritional advice from former Roosters champion Anthony Minichiello.

    The Roosters’ title success in recent times has opened the door for the club’s best talent to pick the brains of premiership winners like Aubusson, Friend, Minichiello, Cooper Cronk and soon-to-be ‘old boys’ Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Daniel Tupou.

    “The most exciting part of my job is getting those guys in front of the young kids,” Aubusson said.

    The former players all have key roles in providing specialist positional coaching. Aubusson works with the centres, Friend with the hookers, Minichiello with the fullbacks and Cooper Cronk with the Roosters’ rising halves stocks.

    “These 16 or 17-year-old kids are more advanced than what I was. They have access to the first-grade side in (coach) Trent Robinson, to former Roosters. They are being coached in the Roosters style. The earlier they can get that the better,” four-time title winner Cronk said.

    “The way the academy is set up is to future-proof themselves in terms of having guys that understand the system.

    “I’ll tell you what, there is some exciting talent.”

    Even veteran prop Waerea-Hargreaves and winger Tupou are willing to carve out time from their busy NRL schedules to be involved.

    “Jared is our main one, he’ll do some video work with our front rowers and always willing to be involved,” Aubusson said.

    “I help out with the outside backs but Daniel Tupou is going to jump on board as well.

    “Even our injured or suspended NRL guys will come in and do some wrestling and help them with their technique.

    “To me, that creates a culture in a club. It helps build a connection to the club.”

    One of those ‘exciting talents’ Cronk has been working with is rising playmaker Toby Rodwell. The recent academy graduate is now in the SG Ball program after joining the club as a 15-year old.

    Other highly regarded prospects to come through the elite academy include Central Coast hooker Tyler Moriarty and back-rower Salesi Foketi, who was identified in New Zealand and has been part of the pathways since he was 15.

    The club has “high hopes” for forward Blake Steep, who hails from Port Macquarie and trained with the NRL side during the pre-season.

    De La Selle Va’a, one the country’s biggest teen athletes at 194cm and 115kg joined the club from Toowoomba at 15.

    Fellow forward and Paddington Colts junior Ethan Roberts has trained with the NRL side and is another graduate earmarked as a future star.

    NRL clubs and coaches are constantly looking to other major global sports and competitions in the search for an edge. The Roosters found theirs in Spain following a tour of La Liga powerhouse Barcelona FC and its youth academy, while in Europe for the World Club Challenge in 2020.

    “We trained there, went through their academies. Nick was blown away by the Academy that was set up over there. He wanted something similar in Australia,” Aubusson said.

    “When I retired Nick and Robbo approached me and asked if Jake Friend and I could go away and think of a plan of how an Academy here would work.”

    But Aubusson is reluctant to take the credit for the academy’s success.

    “It’s Nick’s dream. Trent is backing it but the person who oversees the day-to-day of it is director Peter Newton. He set up the Roosters Foundation, which helps to fund our development programs and a big part of that is the academy,” Aubusson said.

    The club is hoping the academy graduates will follow in the footsteps of young playmaker Sandon Smith, who was the first player to make an NRL debut out of the Central Coast academy, which was established five years ago.

    As well as a foothold on the Central Coast, the Roosters are making headway in Ipswich and in New Zealand.

    Walker calls the club’s move into those regions a necessary ‘evolution’ given the Roosters’ catchment in Sydney is home to only three junior clubs — Bondi United, Paddington Colts and Clovelly Crocodiles.

    “We just don’t have a diamond mine straight outside our front door. We have to work hard. And that’s what we have done,” Walker said.

    While rugby union is viewed by some as a threat to the game, the Roosters are building relationships with local GPS schools to combat the challenges that come with a small junior nursery.

    “We’ve had to think outside the box, due to the boundaries” Walker said.

    “Our strategic plan now includes work on player development, and forming relationships in other areas.

    “We’ve got a really good relationship with the local rugby schools Waverley College and Scots College. We don’t have the advantage of Patrician Brothers Blacktown or De La Salle College.

    “It’s paid off with guys like Angus Crichton, Billy Smith and Siua Wong who all went to Scots.”

    Crucial to the success of young playmakers coming through pathways systems is the standard of coaching. It’s an area NRL head coach Trent Robinson takes a hands-on approach.

    When the club identified a shortfall among the pathways coaching ranks, the three-time premiership winner took matters into his own hands.

    “We found a shortfall in the coaching in those areas. So those coaches got five sessions over the three months with Robbo,” Aubusson said.

    “We’ve got to sit down and learn and go through the different areas like basic skills interchange plans, game day preparations. It was a really extensive program that we started with those coaches.”
    Thought this was interesting after all that stuff, This is what we're dealing with + Bulldogs are doing the same then add Broncos and Redcliffe.

    At least Penrith (They're SG team got robbed by the Dogs and are in 12th now) got to win comps before getting screwed, Everyone wants to be like them so we're losing out because any kid with talent starts getting into a bidding war, Kids were getting 50k or so back in 2009 reportedly, Sualili got 500k without a game, It's getting out of hand but what actually can be done, Teams with more money are just moving in on everyones zone.

    They've pretty much built a PI like any huge sporting organisation, UFC or WWE (shoutout Vidot).
    Last edited by Cowabunga; 16-03-24 at 10:46 PM.

  13. #598
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    Burleigh and Tweed both get the win in MM over the weekend.

    They're first and third on the statewide comp ladder, and play each other this weekend. Big rivalry game.

  14. #599
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    Tweed beat Burleigh 36-8 in MM.

    Worth noting Burleigh were missing Cooper Bai and Coby Black.

    The usual Tweed big guns - Zane, Corey, Stephenson and Kumbamong all good. Ryder was quiet I thought.

    For Burleigh, Ray Puru played 6 with Coby Black out which limited some key parts to his game.

    Baffles me we didn’t sign Mason Barber though. He’s got some traits that will translate upward very well. Been the best attacking player in the comp.

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    Saw that the Seagulls are in the NRRL comp, Hopefully we can take advantage of it keeping kids together coming through A grade to cup.


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