OPINION

Enough of the NRL player contract circus, says Laurie Daley

I've had the same manager - Steve "Chimes" Gillis - for the past 30 years.

I first linked with him at the Canberra Raiders when I was 21 or 22 when player managers first came into vogue and I've been with him ever since. I love the bloke and we have been close mates for all that time together.

Now, I understand times have changed and the player-manager relationship may be a little different in the modern era. But I've got to say some of the stories you hear about some managers, and I stress some, not all, are pretty disturbing.

It's become a fairly cut-throat business with a lot of calculated manipulation going on behind the scenes between managers, players and clubs.

Ultimately, players are responsible for the actions of their managers

Managers wield a lot of power these days and a lack of loyalty from players and clubs, and an almost total disregard for the validity of contracts, has only fuelled their influence on the game. Not a lot of it is healthy but players and clubs must also share in the blame.

Ultimately, players are responsible for the actions of their managers. And clubs are just as guilty when it comes to manipulation when they start agitating to offload players before their contracts have expired because they have lost form, are surplus to needs or they need the money to bring in someone else.

In some respects, the NRL has been powerless to stop much of what has been going on but I still think they should be looking to put some protections in place when it comes to contracts and what they are actually worth, to at least make the moving on of players far more difficult than it is now. The game's fans deserve better in that regard.

Seibold safe

A dejected Broncos coach Anthony Seibold faces the media after last Saturday's loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

A dejected Broncos coach Anthony Seibold faces the media after last Saturday's loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

No individual in the game is under the gun more than Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold right now.

Seibold was the 2018 Dally M coach of the year when he was at Souths but somehow, in the space of a couple of seasons, has he forgotten how to coach? Obviously he hasn't but whatever he is doing with this Broncos side is clearly not working.

His side has lost complete confidence in itself, there is no direction, no experience and no balance in his squad. While he is not totally to blame for all that, the buck stops with him as head coach.

But sacking him - I just can't see it happening. Not with more than three years left to run on his contract. I just don't think you can pay someone out in the current environment in rugby league for that period of time and be able to justify it.

The club's officials have made their bed by signing him for that length of time, now they must sleep in it. They have no choice than to hold their ground on this and back him.

But let's not throw every spear in Seibold's direction either. At some point, Brisbane's highly paid squad of players have to find a reason within themselves to perform to an acceptable level. Whether it's personal pride, playing for their families, playing for the club that provides them with the sort of resources many other clubs would love to have - they have to find that reason.

Round 8 predictions

STORM v ROOSTERS

Hooker Jake Friend becomes a key player now for the Roosters because of their injuries, and his battle with Cameron Smith will be a beauty. No Cameron Munster for the Storm hurts and I think the Roosters will get the job done again.

RAIDERS v DRAGONS

Finally back at home, the Raiders simply have to win this one and while the Dragons have scraped well to get a couple of recent wins and fought hard against the Roosters, I'm tipping the home side here.

EELS v COWBOYS

It's hard to tip against the Eels but I have a feeling the loss of Mitchell Moses will hurt them more this week than it did after he went off last week against the Raiders. The Cowboys responded well when they desperately needed to against the Knights but I think Parra can still get home - just.

TITANS v SHARKS

I thought the Titans were good last week against Brisbane and will take some confidence out of the win, but if the Sharks can reproduce their Manly effort, the likes of Shaun Johnson, Matt Moylan and Chad Townsend have the class to lead them to victory.

WARRIORS v BRONCOS

You can't tip either side here with any confidence. There are no excuses now for Brisbane, they have to get the job done here with fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck a big out for the Warriors due to suspension.

TIGERS v PENRITH

The Panthers have been real surprise packets for mine and with Nathan Cleary in great form and James Tamou playing better than he ever has, I think they will edge out the Tigers in a close one with not too many points scored.

EAGLES v KNIGHTS

They were poor last weekend in losing to the Cowboys but I think the Knights can bounce back and win this one at Brookie. It was Newcastle's first real flat spot under coach Adam O'Brien but I reckon he will have them fired right back up this weekend. The Eagles struggled without Tommy Turbo [Tom Trbojevic] last weekend in a big loss to the Sharks.

DOGS v RABBITOHS

Souths had no respect for the footy last weekend and paid the penalty but have plenty of points in them if they get some control back in their attack. They have James Roberts back on deck and are coming up against a side really struggling in attack and defence to handle the quicker ruck. Hard to see anything but a Rabbitohs victory.

This story Enough of the NRL player contract circus, says Laurie Daley first appeared on The Canberra Times.