We are not an attractive club. News at 11. The reason? We’re poorly run, disorganised, have a bad culture. Our best players have to scrape and beg for respect. Sometimes they leave and suddenly they’re considered superstars. There are other clubs that struggle similarly for different, more permanent reasons.
North QLD - Location mostly.
Warriors - Also location unless you’re a Kiwi.
Canberra - Location.
These clubs have had successful periods, none of which came from massive recruitment drives. In actuality let’s look at the last 20 NRL premiership winning sides and see how many of these sides had genuine stars they threw the chequebook at.
2000 Brisbane Broncos - Almost entirely local products and very few star signings with the exception of Gorden Tallis and Luke Priddis.
2001 Newcastle Knights - A single sorta marquee signing but not really because he mostly fulfilled his potential once he got here, Ben Kennedy. The rest were Newcastle products or randoms.
2002 Sydney Roosters - Almost entirely mercenaries. A few guys they blooded that they found from the bush and Western Sydney + Bryan Fletcher and Luke Ricketson make up the rest. Names like Brett Mullins, Brad Fittler, Justin Hodges, Adrian Morley. A genuinely bought premiership.
2003 - Penrith Panthers - Surprisingly did have a few quality signings that weren’t produced at Penrith including Wesser, Girdler, Campbell, Priddis plus a few other lesser lights that they signed. Smart signings though and still had a ton of developed talent.
2004 - Bulldogs - I suppose you could say they poached Andrew Ryan maybe.
2005 - Tigers - We know this one. Hobbled Scott Prince and a few other tried horses plus a bunch of Tigers produce.
2006 - Broncos - Brisbane products.
2007 - Storm* - Marquee signing Anthony Quinn?
2008 - Manly - Jamie Lyon coming off a stint in the ESL, Steven Bell and Josh Perry are the only signings at all. Could hardly call any of them marquee signings.
2009 - Storm* - Scrapheap Brett Finch the big signing.
2010 - Dragons - They bought this premiership by buying Wayne Bennett who dragged his son along with him as well as Neville Costigan. Aside from that, pretty much all development.
2011 - Manly - Pretty much no new signings since 2008 though they had developed some more talent that wasn’t present in 2008 such as Foran and DCE. Impressive that they won a comp with an entirely different halves pairing a mere 3 seasons after they had already won one. Brought through a new generation of leaders without sacrificing performance. Orford and Lyon even still playing in the NRL at the time. Competence par excellence.
2012 - Storm* - The team that found it so difficult to compete with the salary cap they had to cheat even though they signed nobody because no RL players actually want to live in Melbourne (seriously they all move away the minute they retire). They had no new marquee signings. A few fringe guys they turned into quality like Waqa yeah. Widdop had come through to replace Scrapheap Finch. That’s what they do, they still do it.
2013 - Roosters - Another bought premiership by the Roosters though to their credit they had developed a fair bit of talent to go along with poaching targets such as Michael Jennings, Sonny Bill Williams, Luke O’Donnell and James Maloney. Some of their own product that year included SKD, RTS, Jake Friend, Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner among others. But the pattern is clear. The Roosters can’t develop talent. They are pretty decent at poaching talent from elsewhere at young ages such as Minichiello (Sam Walker anyone), but they can’t win comps unless they steal the best players in the NRL from other teams. They are literally the only club who actually can do this and it can only be one of two ways. They either cheat the cap, or players sign for unders because of the secret society they get to join that is worth more than money because they get to drink the blood of virgins on offshore superyacht parties. Or both. It is probably definitely both.
2014 - Souths - Kind of a miracle team tbqh. You could argue they bought it… but outside of GI it was mostly developed talent coupled with the Burgess acquisitions and Ben Te’o. England players are wildcards tbh. In actuality stacking your side with English forwards is a pretty good indicator of success when you look at what players like Adrian Morley, Gareth Ellis, James Graham and the Burgii have done for sides. But they still had Keary, Reynolds and Koro in the spine who were Souths development successes.
2015 - Cowboys - I mean, looking past the fact that the 2014, 15 and 16 premierships were literally the NRL rigging them for fairytales (don’t pretend you weren’t there), the Cowboys had signed zero marquee players from elsewhere at all.
2016 - Sharks - A little bit like that early century Penrith side. They actually did have a few buys, but it wasn’t exactly marquee talent. Ben Barba was a bit of a scrapheap signing because of off field drama, Jack Bird was a youth poaching, Jimmy Maloney wasn’t really rated that highly at the time. Tbh in a sliding doors universe we could have been the premiers that year had we landed Luke Lewis, picked right between Fifita and Groat and signed James Maloney or something. Long story short, a little more bought than usual.
2017 - Storm - Same old Storm. All their singing were just incredible coups like Addo-Carr, Curtis Scott, one dimensional players they get running through walls like Dale Finucane or wily vets like Will Chambers.
2018 - Roosters - Roosters gonna Rooster. They bought Tedesco, Keary, Cronk and Fergo and they bought another premiership.
2019 - Roosters - Add Brett Morris to replace Blake Ferguson and see above.
2020.- Storm - Paps (youth coup), Vuni (talent ID), Olam (talent ID), Brenko (scrapheap), JAC (coup), Munster (talent ID), Hughes (scrapheap), Bromwich (talent ID) etc. etc. etc.
What does this all say.
Well, very very occasionally a team wins a premiership by filling out their roster with good quality first graders they sign from elsewhere. In almost all cases it gets them one premiership and is followed by a lull. This heavily indicates that the teams that do this (02 Panthers, 14 Souths, 16 Sharks) redline very hard to do so and probably also heavily backload contracts sacrificing future seasons. Which is a Roosters special. They don’t do it as good as the Roosters because the Roosters have a Roosters quality about them that is some mystery and I solved it, it’s actually Nick Politis is Satan. Anywho point being, the Roosters can and do buy premierships. They are the only side that seemingly can just decide to go get the best player in the NRL and then win a comp in doing so. Every other team that does anything like this ends up overpaying in doing so, ruins their squad depth and they don’t succeed.
Almost every premier in the last 20 years were strategically developed squads comprised mostly of junior talent they themselves brought through, with a very small sprinkling of quality but not top signings from outside. Wildcard of English forwards winning comps.
We are not the Roosters. We don’t have a secret society at our club. We cannot buy our way to a premiership. We CAN and absolutely SHOULD develop our way there. Sheens knows that and knows how to rebuild our pathways. I do hope that is exactly what he is here to do. Because that is in fact our strength. With the Centre of Excellence coming we will at least finally be able to compete on an even playing field in those terms, but that’ll only bring us up to square with Parramatta and Penrith. It won’t make us the Roosters. Hartigan is an actual genius. There is no point making overpaid marquee signings. If your ultimate goal is to come 4th or 5th every year I suppose you could do that. Say hello to the Parramatta Eels for the last several years. If you want sustained, continual actual performance. Just be patient, set your development pathways, get your off field right, get your coaching right and it will come. So it didn’t work with the “Big 4”. It doesn’t matter. One misfire doesn’t offset the data. The results do not lie. We do not buy our way out of this. We tried that, it was dumb. Stop complaining about recruitment woes. We are active in the market, we have our prices, we are looking for value, we are unwilling to compromise. This is a good thing. Don’t let the likes of James Hooper and other fellow numpties psychologically manipulate you into adding to the beating drum that leads to nowhere.
Our 2022 Roster has good composition. It might not win a comp, but it patterns to be quite typical of the rosters of many of the teams that have won comps over the last 20 years. Except Mbye we have to get rid of him so bad, and definitely don’t sign the CO for Joey Leilua. The rest is good. More of the same.
Monster post jeez. I’d take 4th or 5th every year.