A FEW years ago I explored the consequence of "opportunity" in a sporting sense. To me it is one of the most meaningful words in the English language.
In my rugby league world "opportunity" is fundamental. It means someone has the vision to provide the chance to an often unknown athlete to perform at his very best as part of a team so the club and team will succeed.
This act of trust is often a leap of faith as the decision is often intuitive with no real evidence to support the reasoning.
The glorious part of this trusting contract is the fact that the onus then shifts to the recipient, the young bloke, to withhold his part of the bargain and produce the goods for the sake of the team.
This is the magic of sport - the unknown - the untried up against the professional and seasoned athlete.
It is truly wonderful to witness the commencement of a professional career from a young man who has been handed the opportunity to perform at a higher level than he has previously competed at, and to come away with a good and at times absolutely outstanding performance.
This is often referred to as one of the wonders of sport and I concur completely.
The anti-expansionists in the NRL world often will resort to the antiquated and ridiculous argument to stall or even ignore the need to expand our great game, especially into its heartlands, that there is a lack of recognised talent to support the extra teams. Rubbish.
I recommend to these obstructionists (and I am being kind with this description) that they have an honest look at the new world of the NRL to see so many wonderful young players that have been offered the opportunity to play at the NRL level for the first time this year, and who are currently wowing the fans at the grounds and on TV.
The Warriors and Wests Tigers had forgettable starts to their seasons, due mainly to an unprecedented injury list, but since they have introduced a string of rookies their performances have improved.
How good are the two young Roosters wingers, Daniel Tupou and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, as well as another young player, Dylan Napa?
Every club has introduced outstanding debutants this year and the NRL is a better spectacle as a result.
The regional areas of Queensland produce so many NRL and Holden Cup (under 20 - NYC) players, but for every one who leaves his region of origin another 10 do not leave to pursue a career in rugby league.
They do not leave for a variety of reasons including social, economic and cultural. Either way there are losers.
The community suffers when the local star leaves because the community is losing its fit, ambitious and committed young men, and the young man who does not leave is denied the opportunity to be the best player and person that he can be. That is tragic.
The solution is simple. Establish elite NRL and Intrust Super clubs in the heartlands and provide opportunity to the game and its young emerging talent. Then rugby league and all of us win.
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