Andy Farrell, Chev Walker, Karl Pryce, Stephen Myler, Chris Ashton all gone. Sean Long, Jon Wilkin, Lesley Vainikolo all recently quoted as saying they’d like to give it a go.
Should we put it to the vote then?
If so many of our top players fancy playing to Union rules so badly, well maybe we ought to give them the chance to. Let’s go the whole hog and get back to the bump and grind of the Union game.
How many Leaguies have truly excelled in Union though?
In England? Jason Robinson and to a more limited extent Henry Paul maybe. Name me two others. Two who didn’t have their roots in the RU game to start with (so no Inga Tuigamala or Feriti Tuilagi who was less than great anyhow).
Gary Connolly – really? Robbie Paul – hardly? Sean Edwards – as a coach certainly but not a player.
Let me know if you find ’em, because I can’t.
Whilst some of these guys made a little initial splash they soon found themselves dragged back to the mediocre; whether by conditioning or rules or prejudice who knows.
In Australia/NZ it’s been a little different with the likes of Mathew Ridge, Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri and others making enough of an impact to command an international jersey.
Not sure why that should be the case except that maybe they were a higher calibre talent in the first place than the equivalent defectors in the UK.
But those Union rules must be mighty attractive to attract such successful or potentially successful RL talent mustn’t they?
What’s your favourite? The rolling maul … all muddy knees and sweaty ass? Or the lineout with its almost balletic elegance? Maybe it’s the catch’n’kick-it-back or the hoof-it-and-clap-it.
Perhaps – like referee Karl Kirkpatrick – you’re attracted by the million-and-one scrum offences or the endless stream of technicalities at your disposal to disrupt the game’s flow.
Whatever it is it’s powerful stuff … It’s enticing our rising stars at a Pied-Piper like rate.
If it’s so darn attractive why can’t Union attract and develop it’s own talented stars capable of imaginative, attacking flair-filled rugby?
It does … but the Union game itself stifles them, it’s endemic within a rule-set that throttles the flair from them; just as it did with all those great league players … sooner or later … that’s why it needs a constantly replenishing supply of new blood.
The cure … to evolve … to Adapt … to become quicker more exciting more fluid and coherent … BUT it’s already been done.
It’s here NOW and its name is Rugby League. Honed over a century on the anvil of commercial pressure and polished by a decade of professionalism.
Why would any ambitious player want to go from best to less … it’s a lot to surrender just for the dollar.