Friday’s announcement that Sam Burgess was returning to rugby league with South Sydney Rabbitohs was warmly welcomed by the Burrow Faithful.
But it looks like it will come at a heavy cost with several players to clear the decks at Redfern to allow for Burgess’ reported $1.5mAU per year contract. It’s a ridiculously high contract considering the games best player Johnathan Thurston signed a contract for around $1.0mAU a couple of years back with the North Queensland Cowboys.
While a lot of attention has been given to Chris McQueen and Dylan Walker’s future at the club, it appears the first casualty is Chris Grevsmuhl. It’s reported the twenty-two year old is heading to Penrith in 2017.
Club marquee players will be a challenging issue for the next NRL CEO whether it’s Jim Doyle, Todd Greenberg or someone else. How much money can the game afford when clubs, particularly in Sydney are struggling to produce healthy crowd numbers?
The signing of Matt Ballin was confirmed earlier this week with the Wests Tigers. While the former Manly rake brings experience to the side, Manaia Cherrington should be first selected hooker if Robbie Farah is shut out of playing NRL at the club.
Right now it seems Tigers management don’t have a constructive recruitment plan with a bunch of fringe NRL players looking for a fresh start at a new club and loss of genuine stock such as Tim Moltzen, Pat Richards and Marty Tapau.
I predict a long season for Tigers fans in 2016.
As for Farah, the rumours continue that he’ll end up at another Sydney club next season.
AUSTRALIAN COACHING JOB
A tough week for Wayne Bennett. He’s missed out on the vacant Australian coaching post and has lost his spot on the NRL Competition Committee.
Mal Meninga now seems to be the last candidate standing and is certain to end his successful coaching era with the Queensland Origin side to take up a full time role with the national side. His record with the Maroons is twenty wins from thirty matches makes him the most successful coach of the state side since the late Arthur Beatson.