Tariq Sims switched to the Dragons mid-season.
Tariq Sims switched to the Dragons mid-season. DEAN LEWINS

Mid-season switching a bad look for the NRL

DURING the week I phoned a player manager - whose opinion I respect - to ask him why one of his players had switched clubs mid-season.

He articulated various reasons, all logical but obviously skewed towards his player and his player's welfare. But sadly, he summarised this mid-season NRL player transfer debacle with a simple three-word declaration - "it's a business".

And unfortunately, as is the case with most aspects of big business today, the consumer - in this case the NRL fan - has become a pawn in a game within what was once just a game.

Sure, professional sport has become a business. Big, big business. And rather than purely pursuing a career, many players are understandably making long-term security their No.1 priority.

But not all players in the game of switcheroo 2016 have had a choice. Some were shown the door - if not directly, certainly by way of innuendo or from the aged-old snub treatment.

I totally understand that loyalty is a two-way street and that if a player feels he isn't wanted by a club he should have the option to move.

But the question that must be asked is why a player has suddenly fallen out of favour? And nine times out of 10 the answer will be either poor form or bad attitude.

Take Tariq Sims for instance. Earlier this year Sims, 26, was on record as saying he wanted to see out his career at Newcastle. A few months later that passion abated, he signed a three-year deal with the Dragons and left immediately.

Sims supporters will say he did the best for himself and his family, as he is absolutely entitled to do. His detractors - and perhaps most Knights fans - might suggest he deserted a sinking ship.

My information was that the initial three-year contract offered to Sims at Newcastle was reduced to a one-year deal, and then taken off the table altogether. And the obvious question is why.

But regardless, his decision to leave the struggling Knights mid-season is not what most would expect from a team captain.

Compare those actions to Nathan Peats, who in two weeks may well be the NSW Origin hooker. Because of Parramatta's salary cap issues, Peats was literally squeezed out of Eels' roster and found himself at the Titans.

Peats handled his forced departure with absolute class and at no stage uttered the buzz words business, professionalism or loyalty. And, admittedly, nor have the majority of those listed below who have made the 2016 Switchers team.

 

THE 2016 SWITCHERS:

Peter Mata'utia (Dragons to Knights),

Brendan Elliott (Roosters/Knights),

Konrad Hurrell (Warriors/Titans),

Ryan Morgan (Eels/Storm),

Joe Burgess (Roosters/Rabbitohs),

Matthew Wright (Cowboys/Sea Eagles),

Elijah Taylor (Panthers/Tigers),

Junior Paulo (Eels/Raiders),

Nathan Peats (Eels/Titans),

Tevita Pangai (Raiders/Broncos),

Joseph Tapine (Knights/Raiders),

Chris Grevsmuhl (Rabbitohs/Panthers),

Tariq Sims (Knights/Dragons).