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Re: Genuine question. : Sun Apr 14, 2024 7:05 pm  
I always wondered why our forwards going to the NRL go really well, at times proper dominate…. Ellis, Burgess’s, Graham, Whitehead, Hodgeson and Moz, Bateman etc, yet the backs that go over more often than not struggle and end up back over here.

Remember listening to coach Nathan Brown on James Grahams podcast about the major differences between NRL and SL. He said he could be pretty certain an English forward would go well in the NRL as they are usually bled through a lot younger into the 1st team, in more challenging harder conditions, by the time a lot of forwards are hitting 22/24 they have over 100 top flight games, like a Morgan Smithies or a Liam Byrne for example, where as in Aus the majority at that age are still playing NSW/QLD cup. Our backs he said are generally no where near the size, speed or skill of our Southern hemisphere, that’s where we struggle to compete.

It feels like an eternity since we have played Aus at international level, but while ever I’ve watched us (I’m 34) we have always matched them in the forwards but been well beneath them 1-7. Obviously genetics may play a part especially with a huge Polynesian and aboriginal contingent playing over in Aus.
Re: Genuine question. : Tue Apr 16, 2024 7:14 am  
As others have identified the facilities and number of employees at the club is vastly ahead of what most clubs have here in SL.

Let’s not also forget the junior playing pool is also significantly larger than ours.

I believe the junior Penrith comp on its own has more junior players in its system than the entirety of junior players playing the game in England.

There is also the fact that NRL in the heavily populated areas in Australia is the prime sport and is pretty much in a 2 way battle with AFL to be the dominant sport in the country meaning unlike us they generally get the pick of lads with the highest athletic potential.

The emphasis on physical education is much higher on the agenda in their education system than it is over here.

The NRL has a larger and more varied gene pool with 50% of the NRL players being on Polynesian decent who are naturally larger.

I don’t believe that though certain players like Dom Young wouldn’t have reached similar levels to those he has achieved in the NRL had he remained in SL, it’s just the NRL target natural athletes which he clearly is with athletic potential and can provide the wages, facilities, coaches and lifestyle to attract them.

In regards Griffin it’s natural for players to add mass as they get older especially if they move positions from an outside back to a forward. In fairness he’s not that much bigger than his days playing in the centre at Hull however he isn’t as dynamic as he was back then due to wear and tear of the game (not age) and the mass he has added as part of his positional switch.
Re: Genuine question. : Tue Apr 16, 2024 7:37 am  
jonh wrote:
As others have identified the facilities and number of employees at the club is vastly ahead of what most clubs have here in SL.

Let’s not also forget the junior playing pool is also significantly larger than ours.

I believe the junior Penrith comp on its own has more junior players in its system than the entirety of junior players playing the game in England.

There is also the fact that NRL in the heavily populated areas in Australia is the prime sport and is pretty much in a 2 way battle with AFL to be the dominant sport in the country meaning unlike us they generally get the pick of lads with the highest athletic potential.

The emphasis on physical education is much higher on the agenda in their education system than it is over here.

The NRL has a larger and more varied gene pool with 50% of the NRL players being on Polynesian decent who are naturally larger.

I don’t believe that though certain players like Dom Young wouldn’t have reached similar levels to those he has achieved in the NRL had he remained in SL, it’s just the NRL target natural athletes which he clearly is with athletic potential and can provide the wages, facilities, coaches and lifestyle to attract them.

In regards Griffin it’s natural for players to add mass as they get older especially if they move positions from an outside back to a forward. In fairness he’s not that much bigger than his days playing in the centre at Hull however he isn’t as dynamic as he was back then due to wear and tear of the game (not age) and the mass he has added as part of his positional switch.


Do you reckon farnworth would have been as good if he wouldn’t have gone to Brisbane at 16 or Widdop to Melbourne at 14.
Re: Genuine question. : Tue Apr 16, 2024 8:40 am  
Pat Bateman wrote:
Do you reckon farnworth would have been as good if he wouldn’t have gone to Brisbane at 16 or Widdop to Melbourne at 14.


Farnworth was being lined up for the NRL from the age of 13/14 and Widdop ended up over there by circumstance.

I don’t think the question being raised is “would they be as good” the question is in regards to their physical athleticism.

Do I think Farnworth would be as athletic as he is now had he come through the SL systems, probably yes or not far off because he is a natural freak of an athlete he was successful at every sport he turned his hand to and he had the height and frame.

I don’t see Widdop’s key attributes as his athleticism so I don’t see as there would be much difference either.

I don’t think either Farnworth or Widdop would be as good a players as they are becoming or were, in Widdops case, because to bring out your true potential you need to perform at the highest level regularly and they wouldn’t get that over here.
Re: Genuine question. : Tue Apr 16, 2024 10:23 am  
But Farnworth is a good example.
Could he have been as physical, of course yes.
Would he?
Well for me, without the same inventive and pressure to succeed and the knowledgeable people around him I don't think so.
He wouldn't have had to try as hard in SLto be successful.
Re: Genuine question. : Tue Apr 16, 2024 11:06 am  
Good debate is this.
Re: Genuine question. : Tue Apr 16, 2024 4:58 pm  
I’m a big listener to podcasts particularly around players who have played in both comps and one thing that is very evident that the NRL off seasons are far more brutal than than those in SL.

Interestingly though NRL careers are generally much shorter than SL.

Matty Johns highlighted this recently.

The average NRL player only plays 49 to 75 games.

About 36% play less than 10 games.

75% are out of the game after two years

88% out after five years.

The physical toll is significantly more looking at those stats, if that was replicated in SL we wouldn’t have a sport as there wouldn’t be enough players.

The numbers associated with their game ensure they can sustain that turnover.

I think Farnworth and Young are athletic freaks who would get there regardless of comp particularly if they were at the bigger clubs with more investment. If rugby league wasn’t a thing I think athletes like them still achieve in other sports.

It’s interesting debate.

Do we burn bright early and fade away like what happens to significant numbers in the NRL or do we take the slower approach to ensure that careers can be built over time.
Re: Genuine question. : Wed Apr 17, 2024 6:17 am  
jonh wrote:
I’m a big listener to podcasts particularly around players who have played in both comps and one thing that is very evident that the NRL off seasons are far more brutal than than those in SL.

Interestingly though NRL careers are generally much shorter than SL.

Matty Johns highlighted this recently.

The average NRL player only plays 49 to 75 games.

About 36% play less than 10 games.

75% are out of the game after two years

88% out after five years.

The physical toll is significantly more looking at those stats, if that was replicated in SL we wouldn’t have a sport as there wouldn’t be enough players.

The numbers associated with their game ensure they can sustain that turnover.

I think Farnworth and Young are athletic freaks who would get there regardless of comp particularly if they were at the bigger clubs with more investment. If rugby league wasn’t a thing I think athletes like them still achieve in other sports.

It’s interesting debate.

Do we burn bright early and fade away like what happens to significant numbers in the NRL or do we take the slower approach to ensure that careers can be built over time.


I love Matty Johns and his stuff, although he plays the joker most of the time, his RL IQ is pretty much unparalleled. Craig Bellamy sending over Cronk, Munster and Slater to stay with him to get them individually coached. Suppose it’s helped having the 8th immortal as your brother. In regards to off camps, the Storms is well renowned for wielding out players who won’t make it physically and mentally with their army camp.

I think the success of the players in the NRL is like you mentioned earlier on in that the player pool is just ridiculous compared to over here and the fact highschools and colleges have specific programmes for getting players ready for NRL, with most of these being cherry picked by NRL clubs and getting them ready physically and mentally from a young age. Would a player like Brian To’o for example be the same player if he was from the UK with his physical Attributes. Or Jeremiah Nanai who is of average size yet an absolute freak of a player based of sheer talent. Ruben Cotter is another example, injury blighted earlier on in his career, quite small in stature, but an absolute beast for lock/ prop at every level.

Joe Burgess, Ryan Hall, Sam Tomkins, Oliver Gildart, Joe Wardle, Zak Hardaker have all struggled in the NRL.
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