In the "where to from here" thread sue raises the point of the lack of juniors coming from the local area and rising through to the First Grade ranks. There are probably many reasons for this, but this is what I believe is the main one: It has been 10 years since shamateurism ended in Rugby Union. Today's 20 year old was 10 years old when that happened and have therefore had "choice" over the code they will play IF they have any talent. The effects of that switch to professionalism are now starting to flow through in full force. Nowhere is this more prevelent than the North Shore and Northern beaches. You only have to journey from, say, St Ives to Telstra Stadium on the night of a Tri-Series Test to realise that. The traffic jam is created by busload after busload of north siders going to the Test - many of them kids with faces painted yellow. The battle for the hearts of minds of the next generation is being resoundingly won by Union when it comes to the areas north of the Harbour Bridge. I'd be fascinated to see what the junior numbers in both codes have done over the past ten years. My hunch is that Union will have grown exponentially. The best example of this new problem for Manly? George Smith the Wallaby flanker. He's a Cromer High boy fer goodness sake. Not even a GPS toff. Imagine him playing in our back row, or even centres? He'd be sensational. But there's no more chance of that than me doing the nude conga from Dubbo to Brookvale this year to celebrate a Top 4 finish. Your thoughts? (There's other reasons too I believe).