Sunday, April 12, 2009

How the Mighty Are Fallen

The Sydney Morning Herald this weekend carried this opinion piece from Roy Masters on the front page above the fold. (I have already recycled the paper version but I am almost certain that the print and online versions have been edited differently.)

Apparently Polynesian players in the NRL are the big issue no one in the League is prepared to tackle. I read the whole thing but I couldn't for the life of me determine exactly what the issue is. This excerpt though says far more about Roy Masters and the SMH editors than it does about any "issues" facing the NFL.

The Pacific Island player is the elephant in the rugby league dressing room: officials, fearful of being accused of rascism, won't comment about his impact at the junior leagues, where he stampedes over lighter, whiter opponents, or the challenge he represents to the entrenched ethos of some traditional NRL clubs. He is reshaping the code's demographics at either end of the rugby league age spectrum.

Anecdotally, the number of junior players of European background is falling because they resent having to tackle the bigger, stronger Pacific Islanders in the same age group. In the senior ranks, NRL clubs rush to sign Pacific Islanders who are perceived to be more durable, recovering from injury more quickly.

Injury-prone though he is, one begins to see why Sonny Bill fled to France.

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