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When codes sell out for a Sonny disposition

'Everyone is entitled to their opinions but I'll speak the truth when it's my time' ... Code-switcher Israel Folau tweets his defence.

'Everyone is entitled to their opinions but I'll speak the truth when it's my time' ... Code-switcher Israel Folau tweets his defence. Photo: Getty Images

HE LOOKS so good, that Sonny Quade-Folau. He is the ultimate first-choice athlete. The man who has football administrators throwing $100 notes like confetti. The dynamic ball of muscle the Olympic sports can't even dream of getting in a row boat or on a badminton court. This guy does not play for gold medal bling and peanuts.

Sonny Quade-Folau is the X-factor. The man you think can push your club through the premiership window, or drag it from the floor. Who can attract TV eyeballs and convert those impressionable kids. A gun for hire in the battle of the codes.

Before you book the luxury yacht and prepare to wine and dine him, there are a few things you should know. Things that should be tattooed in capital letters on this ultimate Generation Y athlete, if there was room left. When you play with him, you play by his rules. 

But before you book the luxury yacht and prepare to wine and dine him, there are a few things you should know. Things that should be tattooed in capital letters on this ultimate Generation Y athlete, if there was room left. When you play with Sonny, you play by his rules. No disrespect to you or your game - rugby league, is it? But Sonny is a man in demand. He may not be tied down by dated conventions such as multi-year contracts or - can you believe people still use this term - club loyalty. He is here for a pay time, not for a long time.

Heavyweights ... Boxing rugby stars Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper pose for photos.

Heavyweights ... Boxing rugby stars Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper pose for photos. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Yes, Sonny is eternally grateful your code has identified his talents and made him a lucrative offer - an eternity, for him, being the time between eating breakfast and tweeting that it was scrambled eggs on toast. But don't spend too long working out the details. After all, in the month it takes you to balance the salary cap, Sonny could have done lucrative guest stints in Japan and France and fought on the Anthony Mundine undercard.

But let's say Sonny Quade-Folau agrees to join your rugby league. Don't expect him to do handstands for the media, or to say he is eternally grateful to play this great game, or that he feels like he is coming home (''I have played this game before, haven't I? It's the one where you get four points for a try and those people from Queensland keep nagging you to say you were born in Ipswich?'')

Sonny will only do a press conference to announce his new deal if he can also promote his next fight and make it clear to his old paymasters at rugby union or the AFL or the International Marbles Association that - wink, wink - I'm not gone forever. Maybe only a one-year deal here. Don't be strangers next September.

To be fair, Sonny does not lead you down the garden path. It might be Christmas, but he makes it perfectly clear the only clause he may believe in is the get-out clause. The one that ensures his ''loyalty'' is fully transportable. So don't blame him after that big win when he sings the wrong song or fret he calls everyone ''mate''. Can't expect him to remember a new bunch of teammates every season.

Which is not to say Sonny will not abide by team rules. He even took the trouble to write them down for you. Preferred position, required personal training staff and, of course, the time off needed for those pay-per-view bouts. There are photocopies for the coaches and the team. Do you mind handing them out? Sonny has a personal sponsorship commitment.

What's that? You've seen him do three laps in sport's revolving door, read his demands and you are still interested? You think taking over his multimillion-dollar contract will be a coup for club and code? That all those people who were supposed to have become baked-on supporters watching him play another game will now follow yours?

Don't you see the absurdity in that logic? That the loyalty of the supporters who follow Sonny from one sport to another is as disposable as his. That the humiliation these inter-code footballing freelancers may inflict upon your code, and your clubs, is greater than the exposure they bring?

Until you work that out, Sonny Quade-Folau will have you over a barrel.

18 comments so far

  • Sadly YGen greed, selfishness and lack of loyalty is not limited to elite sportsmen. The Y should I stay if I dont get what I want applies to all walks of life. I am intrigued as to how this generation will cope in old age with their "I must be pampered or move on" attitude. I suspect they will be very lonely people.

    Commenter
    All Codes
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    December 04, 2012, 10:37AM
    • At what particular age does one start moaning about 'those damn kids'!
      Seems like awful fun.

      Commenter
      Mitcher
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 4:12PM
  • A logical extension of the professionlisation of sport. A shame but inevitable, we can't blame these guys, they are just maximising their income (as us regular Joe's do every day). When words like 'brand' started entering the sports arena this was always going to happen....

    Commenter
    Pete
    Location
    Ringwood
    Date and time
    December 04, 2012, 10:42AM
    • Out dated thinking Mr Hinds. For many a year Football clubs and Administrative bodies exploited players and coaches, professionalism has allowed sort people to maximise their benefit for their efforts and ensure they get their cut of the profits. In the AFL its still last century thinking with players still getting a small share of the games profits.

      Commenter
      Dino
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 5:53PM
  • Noooo - Surely the administration of the major winter football codes in Australia would not be so stupid as to go chasing mirages. They're highly paid professional managers committed to long-term strategies, not short-term stunts. We know this because they tell us that's why they're so highly paid and don't need to be accountable to the common folk who are the source of every dollar that passes through their hands and pockets.

    Commenter
    Doug
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    December 04, 2012, 10:44AM
    • What can be added? This piece is so spot on, no further comment is required. Just print it out, frame it and hang it on your club CEO's wall.

      Commenter
      GLAT
      Location
      Croydon Park
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 10:51AM
      • Is this a rant about the perceived failings of generation Y, or about the dangers of recruiting code-switchers in sport? The latter would have been an interesting article, but you’ve kind of ruined it by basically writing an article that comes across as bitter about ‘kids these days’… (kids who, incidentally, were raised by parents to be this way, and are of a generation that will actually be *worse off* than their parents, generally speaking, precisely because of the selfish behaviours of those parents).
        Instead of giving us what is a strangely b**chy article, why not give us some sort of analysis that discusses whether this ‘new’ type of sportsman is actually new? If so, what’s driving it? Attitudes to sport? To fame? To sport as a vehicle for fame? Money?

        Commenter
        Not
        Location
        GenY
        Date and time
        December 04, 2012, 10:53AM
        • As someone who is very physically active (ie who enjoys playing sport) but does follow any professional sport, I found this article fascinating. The strength of the bitter sarcasm in this piece was such that I had to check a few times that the only offence its main subject is being accused of is against sport itself; sport that, whilst played by adult men, can also be played by children. There is something else in there about apparent disloyalty to teammates themselves but, really, treating people decently and quitting the side you play on with them are two different things. I imagine others will beg to differ on this score... But I guess I've never understood caring about sport that strongly – or, more accurately, as anything other than a fun diversion – when there are more important things one could be emotionally investing oneself in.

          Commenter
          Fascinated
          Date and time
          December 04, 2012, 10:54AM
          • He plays them at their own game...good luck to him!

            Commenter
            Mark
            Location
            Oz
            Date and time
            December 04, 2012, 11:22AM
            • .....play it to the max boys..........go for it!

              Commenter
              jh
              Location
              east brisbane
              Date and time
              December 04, 2012, 6:18PM

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