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Posted by 100% Warrior on Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:26 am
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Fans of any kind of sporting club crave “big name signings”, we do here as well. It gets the juices flowing and the fans something/something else to get excited about.

Bringing through youngsters is something that builds slowly. Unless you’re going watching academy games week in week out the majority of fans wouldn’t know whos who except for word of mouth. I hadn’t a clue who Marshall/Davies were when they made their Wigan debut - it sure didn’t take long to find out though with the level of their performances keeping Burgess out of the side. Youngsters that have that special quality that Sam had when he first broke through get the same reaction from fans as big name signings IMO. It excites the fans seeing a top class youngster named in the squad and watching him play. Williams was the next player of that ilk to come along.

I’m not too sure we’ve produced another brilliantly skilled player such as Sam when he first broke through. I just mentioned above about Williams and yes he is a class player on his day but we can all agree that since his mega money deal his form has taken a nose dive and Tomkins still hasn’t got going after returning from the NRL. Burgess and Gildart are very good players but their form also has taken a plunge recently.

What I don’t and never have understood either is the policy of re-signing players who have left for the NRL. Re-signing J Tomkins, Mossop and Leuluai were unnecessary and a bit naive IMHO in that we thought they were coming back better players when in actual fact they were probably worse off. I’ve not included Sarginson on that list as we haven’t seen enough of him to judge properly yet. Signing back Tomkins and Burgess simply couldn’t be argued with at the time both were rather unlucky in the NRL and Burgess showed glimpses of class at Souths.

With the exception of Burgess/S Tomkins signing back players doesn’t get anyone excited. I would much rather have seen a youth player promoted where possible or a decent signing made in their place. I don’t think signing failed NRL players is the future and we are doing it right with the youth at the club, having said that it does have to be properly balanced out. We can’t rely solely on youth, nor can we rely solely on big signings.
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Posted by WiganBurt on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:05 am
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I'd agree with the OP if the majority of the youth players it is more than likely referring to had since gone on to earn the money they are either already earning or demanding. I don't need to point out who I think those players are.

we do have an excellent youth system however and I would never lambast it. but what does not sit well with me is the apparent feeling in both our own produced youth and signed players is that a couple of years at wigan will see you off to the NRL. it won't, and the proof is in the pudding with the likes of Burgess and Sarge "having" to return. in fact other than Bateman I don't think any other wigan player who has either recently signed big bucks with us or has detailed aspiratiosn to play in OZ is ready for a move out there.

the club, for me, needs to be clamping down on this and saying look you may be good, you may have a had a decent year or two with us, but you are deluded if you think you are going to be a success in the NRL so soon. spend a few more years with us, then we won't step in your way AND you'll be ready and able to perform out there. and you'll get the big bucks to back up your confidence. until then, you are a wigan player so work on earning what you are on here!
Posted by Last Son of Wigan on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:12 am
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Grimmy wrote:
Not going to quote your post due to the size but fully agreed. Ask Bradford fans what happens when you rely on signing up big names, then ask Leeds fans what happens when you develop your own.


Not sure on your point here, perhaps I've misunderstood.

Leeds only develop their own? They've had a good mix of their own talent and signings... they've got the mix right for the most part.
Posted by Cruncher on Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:56 am
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I think it's partly the case now that both chairmen and fans are wary of big signings because so many of them have flunked.

In earlier eras when we made massive signings - I'm thinking Hanley, Gregory, Lydon, Bell etc - the question never arose about whether they'd be any good or not. You expected them to live up to their star billing, and they all did. But now, strangely - and worryingly, given how much more money in real terms these men can command - you're never sure. For example, of the three Melbourne players we signed, only Ryan Hoffman did the business, and he was the one who was only ever going to stay for a single year. Aside from that (as I don't think you can classify Pat Richards and George Carmont as massive signings), the last overseas star we recruited who proved his status was Trent Barrett. And it's not just the Aussies. Stuart Fielden, anyone?

Don't get me wrong. I don't think we should stop making big signings. It's one of the most exciting aspects of following a sports team. But the risk these days seems to be massive. It's certainly less so when you're developing your own talent, though the efficiency of that system is reduced when these guys suddenly decide they want to go Down Under with only a couple of years' pro experience under their belts.

The only solution to that latter problem (if we're not going to raise the salary cap so that we can compete) is to tell these lads and their agents that they're won't be getting a safety net. In other words, if it all goes wrong for them in Aus, which it does for so many, they'll have to go through the whole rigmarole of finding themsleves a new club in the UK, and it won't be Wigan.

We might not be able to change this pernicious culture that has crept into the club, but we can make it less attractive.
Re: Undervaluing our own produced players
Post Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:06 am
Posted by moto748 on Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:06 am
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Cruncher wrote:

The only solution to that latter problem (if we're not going to raise the salary cap so that we can compete) is to tell these lads and their agents that they're won't be getting a safety net. In other words, if it all goes wrong for them in Aus, which it does for so many, they'll have to go through the whole rigmarole of finding themselves a new club in the UK, and it won't be Wigan.

We might not be able to change this pernicious culture that has crept into the club, but we can make it less attractive.



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Re: Undervaluing our own produced players
Post Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:27 am
Posted by Rogues Gallery on Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:27 am
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Last Son of Wigan wrote:
Not sure on your point here, perhaps I've misunderstood.

Leeds only develop their own? They've had a good mix of their own talent and signings... they've got the mix right for the most part.


And from the current Leeds team how many of their academy produced players would you have at Wigan?
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Re: Undervaluing our own produced players
Post Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:31 am
Posted by Grimmy on Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:31 am
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Last Son of Wigan wrote:
Not sure on your point here, perhaps I've misunderstood.

Leeds only develop their own? They've had a good mix of their own talent and signings... they've got the mix right for the most part.

Who said Leeds only develop their own? Not me.

Leeds relied largely on home grown stars - Watkins, Hall, Maguire, Burrow, Peacock, Diskin, JJB, Ablett and Sinfield. The key to their success was not the sort of big name signings people are calling for, other than Peacock. They stayed together consistently winning trophies even though the sport went through massive changes in terms of our relative spending power compared with the NRL.

Bradford was more like 50/50 between big name signings and home grown players, the sort of strategy more of our fans would prefer I think. That worked in the early to mid 00s, but it meant the players didn't stick round as long, and ultimately couldn't be adequately replaced once they could no longer attract the same calibre of big names from the NRL. Now they're getting excited about their big derby is against Keighley this weekend, whilst Leeds are still a decent bet to win the Grand Final or Challenge Cup.

I hope that adequately demonstrates the point I'm trying to make. IMO unless the salary cap gets increased (which I really think it should, but don't think self interested chairman are really pushing for), the strategy needs to be primarily to rely on home grown talent and cheaper more speculative signings like Gelling, Flower and Hamlin. Telling players they won't be welcome back when they leave would just be helping our rivals, just make that decision when the opportunity arises rather than automatically bringing them back.
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Re: Undervaluing our own produced players
Post Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:52 am
Posted by Cruncher on Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:52 am
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Grimmy wrote:
Who said Leeds only develop their own? Not me.

Leeds relied largely on home grown stars - Watkins, Hall, Maguire, Burrow, Peacock, Diskin, JJB, Ablett and Sinfield. The key to their success was not the sort of big name signings people are calling for, other than Peacock. They stayed together consistently winning trophies even though the sport went through massive changes in terms of our relative spending power compared with the NRL.

Bradford was more like 50/50 between big name signings and home grown players, the sort of strategy more of our fans would prefer I think. That worked in the early to mid 00s, but it meant the players didn't stick round as long, and ultimately couldn't be adequately replaced once they could no longer attract the same calibre of big names from the NRL. Now they're getting excited about their big derby is against Keighley this weekend, whilst Leeds are still a decent bet to win the Grand Final or Challenge Cup.

I hope that adequately demonstrates the point I'm trying to make. IMO unless the salary cap gets increased (which I really think it should, but don't think self interested chairman are really pushing for), the strategy needs to be primarily to rely on home grown talent and cheaper more speculative signings like Gelling, Flower and Hamlin. Telling players they won't be welcome back when they leave would just be helping our rivals, just make that decision when the opportunity arises rather than automatically bringing them back.


It really is an area we have to be careful with.

It's not so much about telling them they won't be welcome back. It just shouldn't be built into contracts that, if they are released early to go to Aus, they MUST come back to us when it all goes wrong.

That was supposed to protect Wigan's investment in these starlets, but it's actually a very good arrangement for the players - nearly all of whom have blown it Down Under (or in RU) and have then automatically resumed their careers at a top SL club (even though no returnee has shown anything like the form that got him poached in the first place).

It's a real safety net for them, which is, I fear, creating a very complacent attitude towards the club and the fans. Budgie blew it spectacularly in Aus, came back to Wigan, did nothing, and now, only a year later, is allegedly talking about going down there again. Someone's kidding someone here.
Re: Undervaluing our own produced players
Post Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:04 pm
Posted by Grimmy on Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:04 pm
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Cruncher wrote:
It really is an area we have to be careful with.

It's not so much about telling them they won't be welcome back. It just shouldn't be built into contracts that, if they are released early to go to Aus, they MUST come back to us when it all goes wrong.

That was supposed to protect Wigan's investment in these starlets, but it's actually a very good arrangement for the players - nearly all of whom have blown it Down Under (or in RU) and have then automatically resumed their careers at a top SL club (even though no returnee has shown anything like the form that got him poached in the first place).

It's a real safety net for them, which is, I fear, creating a very complacent attitude towards the club and the fans. Budgie blew it spectacularly in Aus, came back to Wigan, did nothing, and now, only a year later, is allegedly talking about going down there again. Someone's kidding someone here.

I may be wrong, but isn't it 'right of first refusal' rather than an obligation for us to take them? Otherwise surely we could inadvertently end up over the salary cap. Out of interest, were you against the signings at the time, or in hindsight? Personally, the only one I didn't agree with at the time was Mossop, because of his injury record.
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Posted by Cruncher on Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:10 pm
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Grimmy wrote:
I may be wrong, but isn't it 'right of first refusal' rather than an obligation for us to take them? Otherwise surely we could inadvertently end up over the salary cap. Out of interest, were you against the signings at the time, or in hindsight? Personally, the only one I didn't agree with at the time was Mossop, because of his injury record.


I doubt there's an obligation there, but it must give them an extra feeling of security knowing that the door at Wigan is being kept half-open for them. And as none, to my knowledge - with the
alleged exception of Charnley (because we already have lots of wingers) - been told that we won't take them back, that feeling of security would appear to be well-justified.

Was I happy at the time when we re-signed these guys?

I was indifferent to Mossop coming back because I never thought he was worth a place in the NRL anyway. I felt the same about Sarge - if it hadn't been for Gelling, I doubt we'd even have looked at him. I admit that I had high hopes for Sam and Joel because they were so good when they left. I would never have expected them to be as disappointing as they've been. And who wouldn't have wanted Budge back after the form he was showing when he went?

Whenever our star names underperform in Australia, I always wonder how bad they actually are ... or is just that an Aussie press who took it as a personal insult that Leon Pryce didn't like Bondai Beach are never going to be the fairest yardstick when it comes to Brits? So it's not always been a certainty that this so-called poor form will continue once the players in question get back here. But we've now been stung several times. I'd hope that we'll be very, very wary the next time.
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