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Why don't we ever "raid" Union?


Well we do poach union players. It's just they are all under 18. Cause it's much easier to entice young players to get some decent money early rather than risk it playing union and hope you make the Australian team. So many more pathways available in League.
I don’t class that as poaching - that’s giving talented young kids options, they’re still very much in the developmental stage, and will still need to develop in NRL pathways.
Poaching is taking elite, established talent - players who have already ‘made it’, where the time and money has already been invested into the individual to get them to the top level of the game. We don’t need to do that because our pathways are so good - the RU pathways are garbage, and crippled by cronyism - where this kids with the richest, most influential parents get priority treatment.
Maybe take a leave out of the old Rugby Union book pre 1996 and ban them for life.

In this day and age if the NRL tried it someone one would probably go to court over it and get it tossed out as a "restraint of trade". Mind you I understand where you are coming from and agree with the sentiment.

Dogs Of War

In this day and age if the NRL tried it someone one would probably go to court over it and get it tossed out as a "restraint of trade". Mind you I understand where you are coming from and agree with the sentiment.

Why become the bad guys? If talented players want to come back, we welcome them back if someone wants to offer them money. Just means the NRL has it's own lure to play this game and challenge yourself. We don't want to be seen as the game that excludes people, that is everything that is wrong with Union in this country.


The brand part wasn't required. Union is poor in cash terms in this country. With each team having a salary cap of around 4-5mil to fit larger squads than NRL teams do and only 5 teams to make it in. It's not a lot to spread around. So having to hope for top ups from the ARU to make it worthwhile staying in Australia. The talent is there, it's just the ARU pathways are broken and the game is too technical for young players to succeed early and hit that pay day. They then get thrust into the Wallabies too early, fail and get discarded. Then Europe/Japan coming knocking and they run.
The players aren't there. That is a myth that rugger types perpetuate. They say this kid is a union player because he played it in school. The truth is he is a league junior who played the odd game if union because all his mates were and because it was much better than attending Ms Hemingway- Smyth's maths class.

Union has being saying it since the days of Wally Lewis. The so called poached union school kids are league kids who played the odd union game.


Suaalii will be over the moon ,with the capacity weekly crowds who watches his team and the weekly appearance on either FTA or Fox broadcasts minor ratings. Recognition of players by the public is big plus for him.
Oh wait!!! It's the money honey.
Remember attending an Associated school in Sydney , any mention of rugby league was treated with disdain."Playing for money, you should play for the love of the game that's the beauty of Rugby" was drummed into me. PS: Don't mention France where union was paying players for yonks when it was amateur:rolleyes:
Fast forward circa 1996, the almighty $ Franc Euro whatever suddenly was all good ,forget the past.


It's easy to sit back and laugh at rugby with all thier problems but heaven help us if they get thier sh#t together.

If they get thier pathways into shape and get a decent TV deal with some decent crowds with the lure of a true international sport and being a sport that is much easier on the body, Union would have all the best players. Ponga, Keary, Walker, Crichton, Penisini, Murray, Koula..the list is as long as your arm of players that were in the Union system at some piont.

Currently Union can't match us financially or with pathways, luckily I can't see that changing anytime soon


Would a 'Marquee player ' work ? Similar to what they have in super league, only 50% of the players wage counts against the cap. Uncle Nick could have easily matched unions 1.6m offer.

This would make sure the top talent is always paid well enough that rugby couldn't match, it would also give teams a chance to offer some union players ( Owen Farrell, Ardi Savua.. that's all I can think of lol ) some good coin to test themselves in the nrl.


First Grade
All these so called league it’s with union background is a bit of an exaggeration, one of the few money opportunities junior league players get is the ability of their club to pay school fees.

So the likes of Penisini, Suali’i and Campbell Graham all had access and their rugby league club paid the tuition fees and they played school rugby union. There are boys from even Oakhill College playing at Manly,Tigers and others that benefited from this program. Union claiming they are juniors is probably a stretch , as most played union midweek and played for their league rep team on the weekend.

10$ Ferret

Staff member
Not sure about Sydney GPS but the Brisbane GPS competition is full of League players on scholarships, plenty of them already have contracts with NRL clubs. Over the next 5 years when you look at Queensland Rugby Union schoolboys rep teams, 50%+ will be playing NRL within a few years.

What is funny some people get really excited about kids playing the Sydney GPS comp and most of them you never hear of again. Many not making first or 2nd grade.

BTW Campbell Graham went to Marcellin Randwick, a RL school


Because there are only 2 types of union players.

the ones who tried an failed to make it in league and the ones who are only interested in playing union.

neither is worth “raiding”

Perth Red

Post Whore
Ever, at any level? About 0%
yeh certainly the experience is the West is that there isnt the RL/RU great divide in NZ families so kids will often play both then pick the option that gives them the best pathway if they are good at both. Why Id like to see more RL investment in school scholarships with high performing schools.

İzmir Zaferi

Ok, the situation with Joseph has brought up a thought for me.

The goal of the ARU is to create increased awareness and profile for Union especially during the hosting of the Rugby World Cup. İt is important to note Union is probably going to get a windfall of cash again.

The NRL should respond by signing a number of high profile players from a number of nations playing at the Union world cup in 2027.

This should be done before the world cup of course but rumours should be seeded and announcements should be made during the World Cup.

With the goal of three additional NRL sides during this period there is a real opportunity.

Announce teams 19 and 20 and rumoured signings.

İf Perth comes in, the strategic signing of a handful of Springboks (outside backs could easily transition, especially wingers or centres) Sign a Western force player.

This means, every time these players play they will soon mention the NRL, some won't even be signed but the conversation is enough.

Journalists won't be able to help themselves but speculate. İt will help the profile of the NRL globally.

This will help the Rugby Union World Cups actually look like a feeder comp for the NRL and it's presence could be leveraged to grow the profile of the NRL globally.


Why would the NRL do this? It seems all very 2003 ARU so spunk a load of cash on a venture like this.

NRL clubs can play good money but do you honestly think you’re going to sign any of the World Rugby player of the year nominees last year?

Dupont makes nearly $1m AUD per year for playing for Tolouse alone. He’d double that by playing for France with big bonuses on top for winning the Six Nations or RWC.

The Top 14 has a salary cap of €10m euros per year which half of them go around. Again that doesn’t include payments for international rugby. Top players in England and Ireland receive similar remuneration and the South African teams have just moved North and bring more of that money in. If players are from a smaller or less well paid rugby country they will just go to France or Japan. New Zealand rugby has been allowing players to do a year or two in Japan for years now.

There’s absolutely no need for the NRL to waste money going after players they can’t really compete with financially anyway. Like in 2003 the NRL will still be comfortably the no. 1 code in 2027 and beyond. Spend money where it matters.


I had a look recently and there's 18 Rugby clubs with higher salary caps than the NRL. The Top 14 French clubs and four Irish clubs. The English just cut their salary cap. Yes, there are top ups for international matches etc. But I'd say for roughly 8
70 to 80% of all the rugby players at next world cup, they would make more in career earnings playing NRL than they would in rugby.
Japan also- perfect option for many players to top up salaries.

In terms of England- add on match fees for playing internationals 10-12 times a year. It’s close to 50k AUD a game. Bonuses on top. There’s a reason why Owen Farrell stick around Saracens when they were relegated for breaching salary cap rules.

Posted elsewhere but Dupont who is the star man for France gets 1m AUD just for playing for Tolouse. He’ll double that with France.