Update: Hold the phone, looks like the Hock deal actually IS still in doubt if this little massage from Le Mascord is anything to go by.
AS an aside, it seems the rumour mill surrounding UK star Gareth Hock may have got a little out of control (or incredible negotiation work was done in recent weeks), and he does indeed appear to be making his way to everybody’s favourite 80’s team.
Still, the spirit of the idea expressed in that Rubdown remains – who would want to play for a club whose own players are undermining and eroding the club’s culture by going merely going through the motions? And being paid better than some bankers to boot!
As mentioned in the Round 12 Rubdown, the physical attributes of players are less of a distinguishing feature in the era of 3 & 4-man tackles (unless you’re Greg inglis or George Burgess). With the physical playing field relatively level, the game is more mental than ever … and I mean that in the nicest possible way!
There is also the issue of pride – in oneself, in your team mates, and in the jumper.
Ken Edwards has admirably announced that enough is enough. Specifically:
“In Rugby League, we are judged on the field by our performance and ultimately results. In recent times the Parramatta Eels have not fared well in either category.
Our Members, Fans and Sponsors deserve and demand more than what we have achieved and today the Eels declare that enough is enough.
This morning, with the full support of the entire Eels organization, Head Coach Ricky Stuart informed the full playing squad that the services of a group of selected players will not be required beyond this season.
Some of these players are off contract at the completion of this season while the others are contracted for 2014 but have been told that they are not a part of the club’s plans moving forward and have been offered early releases.
Over a long period of time, there have been a lot of people who have lost their jobs at the Eels without the playing group ever being held accountable. As of today the playing group is being held accountable.”
This is an awesome, proactive move by Ken and the board (and Ricky, by extension). It needed to happen, and it has happened.
Players need to remember that they are not normal employees – they are contractors whose careers progress year by year, or contract by contract. They are not permanent, full-time desk jockeys who have some element of job security. Their longevity is decided by form and contribution to culture – nothing more.
You don’t buy in, then you take your chances on the open market upon contract expiration. Or, when told you are ‘free to look elsewhere’, which usually means ASAP so that another year of poor attitude doesn’t completely scare off potential suitors, and so that you can increase your bargaining power within the salary cap.
In the modern-day player’s lingo – don’t tarnish your ‘brand’.
Coincidentally, I have touched upon this in an earlier article which, coincidentally was talking about Josh Papallii reneging on his Parramatta contract.