Home Sport News 2021 All-Club List Analysis, Wayne Bennett Disagrees With Rabbitohs CEO

2021 All-Club List Analysis, Wayne Bennett Disagrees With Rabbitohs CEO

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** As part of a series examining each roster of NRL players, The NRL Economist identifies which teams are more experienced and why some clubs prefer inexperienced rosters.

The Sydney Roosters have the most experienced game roster with 2522 caps in their squad. In total contrast, the Panthers Penrith have less than half of the Roosters’ caps with just 1,230. Both clubs have teams vying for premier in 2021.

Anything over 2,300 appears to be an unwanted surplus that drains your team’s salary cap, with top job winning lists typically showing the sweet spot of around 2,000 caps.

Keary’s incredible pass sets up Morris double

That makes this year’s Roosters and Panthers a tantalizing case study.

Teams that attempt to saturate their roster with excessive experience often fail. For example, although the St George Illawarra Dragons had the most experienced team in last year’s competition, with 2,484 caps, they only managed seven wins. In contrast, the winners of the post of Prime Minister, the Melbourne Storm, had only 1973 caps.

A clear gap in the squad composition strategy between clubs has emerged. Sometimes this division even appears within the same team. For example, Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly acknowledges that prime ministerial positions are earned by extracting surplus value from undervalued recruits, not overpriced reputations. Yet coach Wayne Bennett recently lobbied for the off-season purchases of Benji Marshall and Josh Mansour.

Their recruitment not only resulted in a roster filled with veterans, but also possibly stifled the pathways for talented rookies like Jaxson Paulo. The latest drama surrounding the super trainer Bennett’s efforts to re-sign veteran half-back Adam Reynolds for a long-term deal will inevitably create tensions with its CEO. Solly’s answer will really show who actually controls the list.

Wayne Bennett at his press conference after Souths Sydney lost in the first round. (New)

Unlike the Rabbitohs, roster management in the Panthers prioritizes rookie journeys by artfully freeing veterans. This provides enough leeway to upgrade newly assessed newbies. The release of James Tamou and Josh Mansour during the offseason facilitating Spencer Leniu and Charlie Staines’ vacation is a perfect example.

The selection committee, comprising coach Ivan Cleary, big club and manager Greg Alexander, CEO Brian Fletcher and chairman Dave O’Neill, assembled the most inexperienced team in the NRL in four seasons. The result? A young roster full of talent but still mature who is ready to fight for a title.

Other teams such as the Canterbury Bulldogs, Melbourne Storm and Gold Coast Titans have also prioritized talented rookies over veterans, creating rosters with less total experience.

Titans’ Tino Fa’asuamaleaui runs against the Brisbane Broncos. (Getty)

This is a growing trend in the NRL. Consider that over the past five years, the average number of NRL team selections has been 2,028 games, but this season the average has dropped to 1,950 caps, indicating a significant change.

Essentially, file management is evolving into two distinct strategies. One is obsessed with experience and the other focuses on potential.

Disclaimer: Ramy Haidar is currently employed by the NRL club, the Manly Sea Eagles, as an innovation consultant. You can follow him on Twitter @ramy_haidar

NRL Team

Experience 2021

Rank

Sydney Roosters

2522

1

South Sydney Rabbitohs

2321

2

Canberra Raiders

2321

3

Dragons of St George Illawarra

2179

4

Sharks Cronulla Sutherland

2167

5

Parramatta eels

2144

6

New Zealand warriors

2030

7

North Queensland Cowboys

1990

8

Warringah’s Manly Sea Eagles

1853

9

Knights of Newcastle

1824

ten

Western tigers

1802

11

Brisbane Broncos

1798

12

Gold Coast Titans

1783

13

Melbourne storm

1755

14

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

1493

15

Panthers Penrith

1230

16

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