MAYBE it’s simply an act of the new generation but a large number of Group 2 club stalwarts are fuming that a contract doesn’t appear to be worth the paper that it’s written on any more.
Some players who have signed contracts with a club during the summer have now switched to a rival team and asked for clearances to completely ignore the legal document that they put their signature to in the first place.
Bellingen coach Josh White is fuming that three players who joined the Magpies during the pre-season are no longer there, choosing to play with someone else.
“I think loyalty has died,” White lamented.
“I’m from the old school where your contract is a contract.
“I’ve had three players agree with me but if another club says ‘we’ll give you $50 more than what they give you’ then they take off.”
Like any first grade coach, White is always on the lookout for talented players he can recruit to the club but he believes all clubs need to display some scruples when chasing players.
“The guys at the clubs need to have a good look at themselves as well,” the Bellingen coach said.
“If someone is at a club why approach that player and say ‘come over here now’?
“I think if the clubs got together and agreed that they weren’t going to poach players it would help or at least recognise that a contract is a contract.
“I don’t mind people talking to other players because you’ve got to, that’s the way of life, but if a bloke has signed and you know it you should stand back.”
Former Coffs Harbour president Dion Dawes admits that he believes a lot of current players in the Group are motivated more by the almighty dollar than simply playing for pride in the jumper and standing alongside your mates.
“I won’t mix my words, the worst part of running a football club by a long way was dealing with players,” Dawes said.
“I had a stupid thought as an ex-player that all of the players would’ve all wanted to bandy around and play just for match payments and the love of the game and it just wasn’t like that, it blew me away.
“I’m also amazed at how fickle players have become about the club that they’re playing for. Everything that I grew up with has gone out of the window.”
Dawes says club administrators have to take the responsibility for the new way of thinking and the way that they’ll bend over backwards to get a player to sign.
“It’s like when you’re in high school and you’re trying to get a girl so you tell her that she would be better off if she went with you and not the other bloke,” he said.
“A bloke will say almost anything to a girl to get her in bed and it seems that clubs will say almost anything to a player to get him to sign.”
Both Dawes and White believe that the example shown in the NRL, with players switching clubs several times throughout their career, isn’t a great one for young players to be following.
They also believe that if clubs stop trying to outbid each other for a player’s services than the spiralling costs of running a football club will be kept in check.
“The players are playing a game and the clubs are falling for it,” White said.
“It will drive clubs broke one day.”