Alternate View on July 2005 Recruitment

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Journey Man
An Alternate Eagle said it this morning - "we need to strike in the recruitment stakes, but the cupboard is bare". They are 100% correct.

This time last year this same poster and my good self highlighted the impact a 16th team being granted entry to the NRL would have on the player market. Sadly our fears have come to fruition.

The entry of the Gold Coast means there are at least 4 fewer blue chip signings available directly because they have bought them. Club's have also taken greater pains to retain their own blue chips before the anti-tampering deadline expired, meaning even fewer blue chips making their way onto the open market.

Let’s not forget, by this time last year we already had our two blue chip signings in the bag � Kennedy and Kite. I think we can all remember how spectacularly unsuccessful we were after July 1.

If rumours that Anasta is bound for Bondi are true, it means that this year there is only one legitimate blue chip signing left on the market � Orford � and Souths are desperate to throw everything and the kitchen sink at him to secure a marquee signing. This time last year there were at least 10 legitimate blue chip players coming up for grabs. We didn’t land any of them.

Apart from the obvious chase for Orford, what direction will Manly’s recruitment take over the next month?

I think there are two main strategies available to us.

1. Seek the rough diamond.

This would be a re-hash of the strategy we employed in 2003. We could sign up several fringe first graders and junior players in the hopes that some of them would prove to be a rough diamond. Another vein to mine is that of injury struck players who have been off the radar for the past year or longer.

Notable rough diamonds in recent years have been Willie Tonga, Scott Prince, Luke Covell and Carl Webb. However, for every Chris Hicks there seems to be a dozen of the likes of Ian Donnelly, Jye Mullane and Dallas Rennie.

I’m not convinced of the merits of the scatter gun approach of seeking the rough diamond. It is very hit and miss and ends up with a lot of baggage, dead wood and disgruntlement in the ranks. There are also no guarantees that we will collect little more than a brood of mercenaries in the hope that one or two of them come goo, given time and opportunity.

At best this should be a limited approach, but surely there is something else that will go hand in hand with it. Here are a couple of options:

2. Development of youth:

This is an obvious approach, though one where we have lacked at times over the past decade. Thankfully Crusher Cleal has been recruited to the task and he seems to be doing it with aplomb.

With two years under his belt there is every reason for confidence that we will begin to see some of the fruits of Cleal’s labour join Ashley Alberts in first grade over the next twelve months. Therefore, in many respects the club is now doing what it needs to do in this critical area of junior development.

It is also a process that requires patience and time. We will begin to see some fruits next year but Crusher’s work won’t come into its full fruits for a further two years at least. So whilst it gives us reason for long term optimism there is still the need to fill the breach over the short to medium term. Here are my thoughts:

3. Thinking outside the square:

There have been several Englishmen in the English Super League that have expressed an interest in coming to the NRL for the challenge. Let’s be frank, we know that we can’t compete with the English clubs when it comes to the size of the salary. However, there are some things we can offer that they can’t, namely.

. The opportunity to challenge themselves and prove their worth in what is generally agreed as the toughest Rugby League competition there is; and

. The chance to make a lobster of themselves on Dee Why beach, something that seems to be in vogue with twenty-something Englishmen and indicative of the lifestyle and experience that we can offer that far exceeds stoking coal fires on the hearth in Wigan.

Personally there’s something about attracting players wanting an opportunity to prove themselves and seeking a challenge that appeals far more than the possibility of being a transit lounge for the latest bunch of mildly talented Australian mercenaries.

Thinking even further outside the square, I do think there is a market for fringe provincial players in Rugby Union who might be looking for a lifestyle change and a challenge. The expansion to a Super 14 makes this less likely, but there is the possibility that, in South Africa and the Pacific Islands in particular, there are fringe players who would appreciate the challenge of Rugby League and the opportunity to make a new life for themselves on Australian shores.

Whether they’d make a quick transition is the crucial factor, meaning that this search might be limited to backline players, possibly just wingers. At least we have form on the board in this area with Matthew Ridge and Craig Innes.

Best case scenario? Joe Rokocoko tires of being on the outer with the All Blacks but decides the frigid tundra and pounds of England or the sushi and yen of Japan and comes looking for a challenge with us. Yeah, yeah, I know. We can all dream!

One thing is for certain - it will be interesting to see how the next month unfolds.


Journey Man
Michael Carney signed by the Gold Coast for 2007.

Might be looking for an NRL club for one year in 2006.



Reserve Grader
Good original post !!

Personally , I can't see much value in signing any player on a 1 year deal . The player will only be using Manly as a transit lounge on their way to Sufferers Paradise ( Gold Coast )


Jun 30 - Penrith will listen to proposals from any club interested in some of its high profile forwards, the club's General Manager of Rugby League, Michael Leary, said tonight.

He was commenting on media reports that the club wanted to offer an early release to players such as Ben Ross or Joe Galuvao at the end of this season.

"That's not the situation at all," Leary said. "We don't want to release anyone.

"However, the fact is we have a good crop of quality forwards and a shortage in the inside backs at the moment.

"Our results so far this year have shown that is our weak spot - and we have to do something about it before next season.

"With the salary cap as it is, we cannot afford to hold onto all our established forwards, shore up the contracts of some of our promising local juniors and go into the market place for a quality back.

"So we will listen to any proposal from any club that is interested in seeking an early release for some of our forwards.

"At this point nobody has approached us but the media reports are so strong that we felt the need to clear the air."


Jamie Peacock is off contract, if he bulked up another 5-10kg he could possibly slide into the front row.

Damien Quinn was a good player in PL a few years back, he got sent packing by Sharpe, he's playing centre for Wynnum now, maybe an option?


Journey Man
two outside backs should be number 1.

5 props should cover a club, consider most play with 3, thats 2 reserves.

A genuine 5/8 would be great, be better than yet another half back, we already have 4 in the top 2 grades compared to 2 PL 5/8's


Journey Man
We rally only have 2 props of a consistent first grade standard - Kite and Heckenberg.

King is a pussy.
Lulu is always suspended.
Even Heckenberg is limited.

The Wheel
Premium Member
Another Mata V Fluff King war coming I see.

1 half or 5/8 (quality)
1 centre (quality)
1 winger (someone who can catch)
1 prop/2nd rower (young with promise)


Reserve Grader
Bryant is doing a great job for Manly. I'm starting to rate him as a decent prop. Runs that ball up hard, hardly makes an error, makes the tackles he needs to make.


they are all pretty decent. We shouldn't have a problem with that.

The Wheel
Premium Member
If all fit and well I agree but King has played bugger all footy over the last 2/3 years and when he does pla he has generally carrying an injury. While Kylie has a poor suspension record is a worry and any minor indescretions will have a higher penalities due to this


Journey Man
Our only quality prop is Kite. We need another strike weapon especially seeing as Monaghan is as useless as tits on a bull when the pack isn't going forward.


First Grader
Michael Carney signed by the Gold Coast for 2007.

Might be looking for an NRL club for one year in 2006.


Is Micheal Carney any relation to Brian?


Journey Man
None of our props have played every game this year.

I agree with MM that Bryant is doing his job well. Hecks has had a bad run but last year played 23 of 24 games.

I dont agree with adding another, we have 5, if they are not right for the job then they have to be swapped. We still have the salary cap to think of and we are not looking at a 1 year solution i hope.


Journey Man
I wonder if the cowboys would swap Carl Webb for King? :lol:

They'd probably offer Mitchell Sargeant.

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