General Warriors Bank On New Zealand Talent

NEWBIE_old

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/4096862/Warriors-bank-on-NZ-talent


The biggest item in Dean Bell's modest office at Mt Smart stadium is a substantial whiteboard screwed to the wall, which bears 90-odd names – the players contracted to the Warriors.

It's a constant reminder for the club's recruitment and football manager of his ultimate aim: long-term planning for a club which has sometimes stood accused of living too much in the present.

On the left are the 31 contracted first-graders. In the centre, the under-20 squad. On the right, 20 signed-on development players – the youngest of those just 14 years old. There's even another group who have trained at the club, but aren't paid.

There's a fuss been made of how few Australians are in this Warriors team – just four last weekend – but it's not just their nationality, but who produced the players that matters most to the club, who are backing themselves to unearth up to three first-graders a year from their own system. They couldn't cope with any more.

They also reckon with more prudent forethought, they can slash the costs which come with cutting players mid-contract. While Nathan Fien took a paycut to leave the club early for the Dragons to get some first-grade play, most NRL clubs agree to keep paying some of their players' wages when they offload them early to other clubs. In the past two years, for example, the Warriors have offloaded Fien, Grant Rovelli, Michael Witt and Wade McKinnon early in long-term contracts.

"It's not an exact science," says Bell, citing form, injuries and changing team dynamics as uncontrollable factors. "I have worked that one out, but it is all about making the right decisions from the start – but you're never going to get it 100 per cent right all of the time. Sometimes, there is the simple fact that there is a better option: hopefully, in the future it will be some of our young players. One of the big things is making sure our succession planning is in place so we sign guys at the right time, extend at the right time, and at the right money too – that's really important."

Bell can predict eight years ahead who should be playing in what position for the Warriors, but says one of the biggest intangibles is knowing which promising young players translate that ability at NRL level.

That forward planning explains the real surprise: while the club is "very healthy" on its salary cap next season and has lots of room to manouevre, it has no specific recruitment targets in mind. The Warriors showed no interest in Kiwis' backrowers Greg Eastwood, Frank Pritchard and Jeremy Smith when each came on the market. "We got backrowers coming out of ears and some good young ones coming through," explains Bell. "We don't need anyone [there] at the moment ... you don't buy a player for the sake of it, do you? You buy them because that's what your needs are. We are pretty happy with the squad we've got at the moment. Not pretty happy – we're very happy. We are in a good position financially – we've not got millions in the bank, but we are in a good position if a quality player becomes available and fits our needs – we would be ready. But we are certainly not desperate to go out and sign someone."

Likewise, they don't want a hooker to replace the departing Ian Henderson – rookie Alehana Mara is doing well enough, and Bell says these days having two frontline hookers is a luxury. They thought they wanted a prop, but now Ben Matulino is doing so well in the frontrow, they're no longer worried.

And while they wanted a centre, if there isn't a quality one willing to cross the Tasman, they won't be buying. The days of buying-in Australians with the intention they would be dependable, but unspectacular back-ups (think Aidan Kirk or Michael Crockett) are gone.

"We would rather give that money to our up-and-coming young players," says Bell. "It's our aim in future not to have to go to the market too often: we will produce our own. It's obviously much more cost-effective, and it's what we want: we want as many young Kiwi players as possible." The next challenge, he says, is the next tier down – the kids who haven't even made it on to the whiteboard yet. "We get them very raw," offers Bell. That's not strictly the Warriors' job, but the NZRL's, but he is heartened by what he sees these days on the other side of Beasley Avenue.

After that, his other task is explaining why not every decent kid can play first grade in Auckland.

"Not all of them can play for us. But if they can play for someone else [and be successful] or they had a positive experience being here, we've done our jobs."
 

Northern_Union

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/4096862/Warriors-bank-on-NZ-talent

They also reckon with more prudent forethought, they can slash the costs which come with cutting players mid-contract. While Nathan Fien took a paycut to leave the club early for the Dragons to get some first-grade play, most NRL clubs agree to keep paying some of their players' wages when they offload them early to other clubs. In the past two years, for example, the Warriors have offloaded Fien, Grant Rovelli, Michael Witt and Wade McKinnon early in long-term contracts.

Why sign players to long term contracts only to release them? Ivan, your turn to speak.
 

PB_old

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Why sign players to long term contracts only to release them? Ivan, your turn to speak.

You sign them to take them off the market and because they are in your plans. You release them when those plans change. Pretty simple really.
 

BringBackRovelli_old

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I suppose the best way to release a player is to throw him into reserve grade and wait till he asks for a release. And then we don't need to pay his salary for the rest of his contract. Is this correct?
 

Northern_Union

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You sign them to take them off the market and because they are in your plans. You release them when those plans change. Pretty simple really.

I always though you signed a player to play for you. And if you sign them long term they must be playing so well that you want to lock them in long term to do a job for your club.
As far as i'm aware paying a player to play for other clubs isn't an industry standard.
Now thats pretty simple really.
 

Northern_Union

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I suppose the best way to release a player is to throw him into reserve grade and wait till he asks for a release. And then we don't need to pay his salary for the rest of his contract. Is this correct?

Yes thats known as mutual termination, means we don't have to pay a player to play else where.
 

PB_old

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I always though you signed a player to play for you. And if you sign them long term they must be playing so well that you want to lock them in long term to do a job for your club.
As far as i'm aware paying a player to play for other clubs isn't an industry standard.
Now thats pretty simple really.

Yes. You sign them to play for you. And when you don't want them to, for whatever reason, you release them. If you sign them longterm they are playing well, or will be expected to, and/or it reduces their bargaining power. If you sign short term and they rock you might pay more.

Player X costs 150K next year, and the same this year. Club A's plans have altered and they need to free up 100k to upgrade Player Y, a well performing junior, and increase their buy-in fund. Player X is already accounted for this year, so a deal is struck with Club B. Club A pays 50K next year and subsidises this year's remaining games. In return, Club B offers Player X a contract. Club A gets to keep Player Y happy, and Club B get cover for injuries and stay under their cap. Player X can still play first grade.

Seems to happen a bit NRL wide, NU.
 

mrblonde_old

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The article, as good as it is, should have added that Fein and McKinnon asked to be released. Witt and Rovelli didn't.

Well, that's the way it's been reported.

Obviously, situations change on both sides and the breaking of long-term sports contracts by either party is pretty common.

And do we really miss any of them:
Rovelli at five eighth doesn't look like the man at North Queensland
McKinnon wasn't going anywhere here and I see him falling back even further if he was still here - Hohaia/Locke/Inu/Fisiiahi..
Fein's still got his ankle injury to come back from.

Anyone know how well Witt's going?
 
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Northern_Union

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To be fair on them? I think Fien, Wade, Rovelli, Witt, etc would much rather find a new club then spend 2-3 years in the Vulcans.

Being fair never comes into a professional enviroment. Like the Cinivaciva being edged out the door. Or Wally Lewis being dropped as captain and released to the Gold Coast Sea Gulls. Or Paul Vautin being forced out the door to the Roosters. Or Ali Lautiti for another example.
If fair ever came into the calculations of a professional sports club then you wouldn't sign a player long term in the first place.
 

Spence_old

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Okay, so you're in charge of the Warriors - We have decided that Hohaia is going to be the number 1 fullback (you're not allowed to argue the point, just accept it), Wade asks for a release so he can try play first grade at another club.

So you say "Get stuffed, play for the Vulcans for the next 2 seasons."?
 

Spence_old

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The article, as good as it is, should have added that Fein and McKinnon asked to be released. Witt and Rovelli didn't.

Well, that's the way it's been reported.

Obviously, situations change on both sides and the breaking of long-term sports contracts by either party is pretty common.

And do we really miss any of them:
Rovelli at five eighth doesn't look like the man at North Queensland
McKinnon wasn't going anywhere here and I see him falling back even further if he was still here - Hohaia/Locke/Inu/Fisiiahi..
Fein's still got his ankle injury to come back from.

Anyone know how well Witt's going?

Last I heard he was playing well in the ESL.
 

Northern_Union

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Okay, so you're in charge of the Warriors - We have decided that Hohaia is going to be the number 1 fullback (you're not allowed to argue the point, just accept it), Wade asks for a release so he can try play first grade at another club.

So you say "Get stuffed, play for the Vulcans for the next 2 seasons."?

Sorry can't and wont argue that point because Wade would still be our fullback if i were in charge.
 

Northern_Union

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Okay, say we signed Thurston and Prince and Lockyer for next season and Seymour asks for a release.

Same question.

Thats a spurious argument though. You may as well say we've signed Superman Spiderman and Adolf Hitler. Neither scenario is going to happen.
 

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