@steve-o said in Matterson unhappy at Tigers?:
The only good players going to clubs like the Titans and Knights are ones that are either:
(1) looking for more opportunity e.g.
Arrow, Wallace, Taylor from the Broncos
Peachey and Cartwright from the Panthers
Watson from the Roosters
Ponga from the Cowboys
(2) looking for a last contract payday
Eg Guerra and Glasby
Or (3) have a connection to the area
Eg Ramien and Proctor
Klemmer is the notable exception who wanted to get out of Sydney due to family issues.
It’s fair to say that money was also a big part of the Ponga signing because the Cowboys weren’t willing to pay for an unproven player. However in my opinion, Newcastle will struggle to retain him now that he’s proven himself as a superstar.
Also, forget about comparing clubs in the NRL era… the landscape has changed dramatically in the last 5-10 years. Eg the roosters were indeed in and out of the finals a lot in the latter half of the 2000s, but they’ve been in the top 4 six out of the last 7 times (this is going off memory, so feel free to fact check).
My point is, let’s not pretend all 16 clubs are created equally. Clubs like the Titans, Newcastle, and probably the Cowboys in a post-Thurston era, are going to struggle to maintain the same consistency as some of the big market clubs. The Raiders are in a similar boat but have made a smart strategic decision to recruit some of the top players from England. The Raiders are also in a sound financial position of the field.
As for what this means for the Tigers… I truly believe we are a sleeping giant, we just need to start winning! It’s a continuous feedback cycle… from a player’s perspective, success on the field brings individual recognition, which leads to rep opportunities, bonuses, higher contracts etc, which then in turn makes a club a desirable place for free agents.
If you want to define success as regularly making the top eight, there are several clubs that qualify as successful that don’t have notably greater access to resources than the Tigers do: Manly, Cronulla, Souths and perhaps the Raiders. Three of those have won premierships this decade.
What do those clubs have in common? They reliably bring through good young players and while they lose a few they work hard to lock up the ones they want to keep, and they are pretty good at identifying the right ones to spend their money on. They also tend to supplement their squads with players who aren’t being appropriately valued elsewhere rather than top-price free agents.
I’ve said it on here till I’m blue in the face but the Tigers aren’t going to get good by trying to emulate the Roosters. There’s also a good argument that once you put aside the Roosters, there is much, much more likelihood of succeeding via the youth development/finding gems approach than there is by the boom and bust method of signing expensive free agents.
Here’s how I’d sum it up
Clubs that reliably sign players for top dollar
Clubs that rely more on talent identification and youth
Does that make you think “wow, the only route to success is to spend big on free agents”? Because I look at it and see basically all the biggest underperformers in the comp (with the dishonorable exception of the Warriors) in the first group.