Prop Forwards Dominating the NRL

WHILST it has been downright impossible to avoid the Matildas World Cup Fairytale (they play England in the semi 2 hours from me writing this) there is some league news you may have missed because of it.

Let me fill you in with a few stories that have caught my eye this past week. Firstly, this is what I submitted for my column on Payne Haas on Tuesday around midday….

The Payne Haas saga rolls on! Fair Dinkum the Broncos behemoth has been linked to more teams than I’ve had hot dinners of late. The latest the Western Force in Rugby Union! Yep that’s right. The Force have made a preliminary inquiry with Haas’ management after the star prop made the bombshell decision to test his value on the open market. This after his current club Brisbane tabled a more than generous offer of $1.1million per year over 5 seasons. Good coin. Haas has stated he wants to win a premiership hence his agitation. Hello! The Broncos are on TOP of the NRL with Penrith. They are in the midst of a at least a 5 year window of optimism and success, why wouldn’t you stay in Brisbane and create your own legacy with a footy team going places? Because you get the feeling wherever Payne ends up the itchy feet will no doubt resurface and a change will be wanted. Payne, sign with the Broncos, stop the speculation and innuendo that has the ability to destabilise your footy club, and forever forget about playing Rugby Union, you have the ability to be one of Rugby Leagues true greats.. The Western Force…. please. 

Then 3 hours later this happened: Payne signed on for the Broncos for a further 3 years on a deal worth $1.2 mill per year. Some of what I first wrote still applies but overall this is a great day for Brisbane Broncos Rugby League. Their march to grand final day continues.

From one front rower to another, but this time for completely different reasons. Whilst Haas is baulking at staying in Brisvegas, his fellow juggernaut Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has inked a 10 year deal worth $12 mill to stay on the Gold Coast with the Titans! What a coup. It’s the richest deal for a prop in the history of the NRL seeing the Gold Coast skipper pocket a whopping $1.2 mill per season. And he’s worth every cent. 

But saying that, a 10 year deal for ANYONE is risky. Especially for a front rower, although Tino is an extraordinary specimen. But still, 10 years! Its hard to get your head around a 10 year contract in the current status of our game. What about a 5 year deal then maybe a reassess clause? 

There is something about long-term security for a sportsperson that affects at least five percent of their drive and hunger. Case in point the Cowboys Jason Taumalolo. Back in March of 2017, the then reigning Dally M player of the year, at 23, inked a new 10 year deal worth $10 mill. Now at 30, he is starting to look tired and is only 6 years into his mega deal that ends in 2027, where he’ll be close to 35. Motivation plays a major part in our game, financial security somewhat decimates that. 

Speaking of motivation, six weeks ago the Newcastle Knights were 5 points outside the top 8 sitting in 14th position on the ladder. But after an incredible run of 6 straight wins the Knights find themselves well and truly in the top 8 and on the cusp of an unlikely finals appearance. Who can coach Adam O’Brien thank for this epic run of wins? Billy Slater that’s who. By omitting Dane Gagai and Kayln Ponga from this years state of origin series, he unwittingly lit a fuse under the bonnet of the two Newcastle stars in turn seeing them both play an enormous part in the Knights elevation north. How far can the Knights go this season? As far as Ponga and Gagai want them too! 

See you at the game…

MG (random Westie) OAM