A few weeks ago, the BWTF admins started sending a few emails around about plans for the year ahead. Article ideas on the challenges ahead, things the club needs to do for a successful year, etc. Down the list somewhere, our contract situation was listed. I didn’t intend to be writing the first blog of the year about this issue, however with the speculation currently surrounding our club I thought it important to get on the front foot so here we are. I’ve got a couple of home truths in this post, but I think it’s important that these things are said.
Decade Defining Decisions
The thing that instils fear in all of us is how important it is that the club gets the decisions ahead of these contracts right. I don’t envy Justin Pascoe, Go or Taylor in the year ahead. The club will come under fire from media and fans alike. Despite this, it’s important to remember that this is their job. Should the club make incorrect decisions around recruitment over the course of this year, it will put to waste the last 5 years of underperformance in the hope of raising home grown talent and put a significant portion of us as fans offside. We can only hope they nail it and for all our sake, re-sign James Tedesco.
Speculation isn’t going to go away
Unfortunately, with all our big four players (and several others from our club and every other club with the new salary cap coming in 2018) you have to be prepared for what will be months and months of endless speculation and regurgitation of rumours with every sports media avenue vying for their piece of the clickbait/outrage pie. Unfortunately, it’s just the way it is going to be. Tedesco will be linked to every club even in slight need of a fullback. There will be articles of ‘unrest’ in the team, and ‘tensions’ with JT all in the effort of getting your click. The best thing you can do is ignore it.
We are going to lose juniors, no matter how hard the club tries
The sheer reality is that with the number of locally grown juniors we have in our club at first grade level, we are going to lose players and it’s going to hurt when it happens regardless of who it is. The fact that as fans, we’ve sat through lean years for the sake of blooding juniors only to see them leave will hurt at times. It is the nature of the business of sport, unfortunately.
We don’t need to keep everyone, and we can’t overpay
This may not sit well with some of you, but it’s something that needs to be said. We don’t need to keep everyone. Despite heading into a new cap era, as a team we can just not afford to overpay juniors for the sake of getting them to stay with us. Without hesitation, you could name players from every premiership team in the last ten years that were key to the success of that premiership that had stayed for unders. Everyone compares our boys to the Big 3, who have all stayed since 2010 on slight unders. When your high calibre players say for even $150k less than their market value each, it quickly adds up to enough cap space to afford even one more quality player that can make a difference to being a premiership team or not. If the Big 4 aren’t willing to take a slight pay cut compared to market value to stay together, then we have to be comfortable in letting them walk. This isn’t to say we need to underpay them, but the club needs to be firm in understanding what the market is truly saying about our players.
Grant Mayer got fans onside in 2013/2014 by signing all of our juniors up to the long-term contracts we are now dealing with. As we all know, these contracts significantly hampered our cap space for 2015, 2016 and now 2017. We just can’t afford to be constrained like this again – it will put us five years further back on the quest for a premiership.
If all else fails, we have the ability as fans to make our feelings known through appropriate channels such as membership renewals next year. Until such time as all the dominos fall into place, know that it’s going to be a long year. But we at BWTF will be with you the whole way.