Super League’s player drain

The player drain from Super Leaguecontinues – but what exactly can we do?

Wigan and England duo Josh Charnley and Dan Sarginson are off to pastures new, the former switching codes to join Sale Sharks and Sarginson heading Down Under to the NRL.

It has prompted talk of raising or even scrapping the salary cap once again.

More money or not, you can’t blame Sarginson for wanting to ditch Wigan for the Gold Coast.

For Charnley, the waters are slightly muddier, though the lure of playing regular internationals in front of huge sellout crowds is surely a draw to any player, and one that saw one of our very best in Sam Burgessmake a similar switch not too long ago.

Regardless of how rarelt successful other code-switches are, players still seem to be tempted by the riches on offer from the 15-man game.

Burgess featured in a World Cup before returning to the league within 18 months of leaving.

Jason Robinson remains the most successful British rugby league convert, having scored a decisive try in the famous Rugby World Cup win in 2003.

The likes of Andy Farrell, Iestyn Harris and Chris Ashton have made the switch to varying degrees of success, but there are those like Lee Smith and Kyle Eastmond that leave you questioning would they have been better off in league. Joel Tomkins and Josh Jones are two who didn’t last long in the other game.

What we will perhaps never quite get to the bottom of is whether money is the only motivation for players.

It’s unlikely that it is the case. If we were to double the Super League salary cap, the lure of international rugby union and the lifestyle of Australia would still be there.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t increase the salary cap.

Super League is at its most competitive for years, and it would be a shame to detract from that now.

But we can’t hold back the likes of Saints, Wigan, Leeds and Warrington for the benefit of Widnes, Castleford and Hull KR.

If from a commercial stand point and for the strength of the game as a whole, increasing the salary cap makes sense, then it should be done.

Wigan’s position of dangling an olive branch to their departing players is an interesting one too.

Any Warrior that exits for the NRL or rugby union is seemingly waved goodbye with the promise that if they aren’t a success, then they’ll be welcomed back to the DW Stadium with open arms.

While this is sensible from Wigan, who are pre-empting failure and thus preventing any of their rugby league rivals getting their hands on their home-grown talent, it is almost becoming counter productive, as it takes away an element of risk in departing them.

What we do need to do is increase the rugby league player pool and increase the opportunities afforded to them.

We are already at risk of losing players over the age of 19, thanks to the inexplicable set-up under first team level.

Thankfully, Warrington, Wigan and St Helens are leading the way in addressing the problem, by running reserve teams along with Hull and a host of Championship clubs.

When will the other Yorkshire Super League clubs see the light and step up?

A larger player pool enables more teams, more games and more competition. More competition means players strive to be better, increasing the quality of the sport.

Maybe only then will the lure of England v Australia at the Olympic Park Stadium truly be enough to fight off playing at Twickenham.

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