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Football royalty put bucks before loyalty to crack the codes

In the spotlight ... Israel Folau.

In the spotlight ... Israel Folau. 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 rowboat 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.

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 Quade-Folau, you play by his rules.

No disrespect to you or your game - rugby league, is it? But Sonny Quade-Folau 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.

Yes, Sonny Quade-Folau 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 Quade-Folau 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 Quade-Folau 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 Quade-Folau 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 that he calls everyone at the club ''mate''. Can't expect him to remember a new bunch of teammates every season.

Which is not to say Sonny Quade-Folau 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 Quade 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 Quade-Folau 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.

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Twitter - @rdhinds


  • Don't blame the generation, blame the generation that raised them to be like this

    Date and time
    December 04, 2012, 5:50AM
    • Couldn't be more true. I saw the article title "generation me" and thought, damn Folau looks great for a baby boomer, the generation famous for greed and materialism, who's legacy is nothing but undeserved entitlement and a global recession. But no, its just another grumpy old man complaining about those darn kids, who are only doing what they were taught, and what society showed them was the norm...
      You have a problem with YOUR kids, well then YOUR the only person to blame!

      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 6:57AM
    • Rugby League is a professional sport and these athletes have a limited playing career. I say good luck to them.

      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:14AM
    • Sigh. Another disgruntled X-Y-Nothing Blamer. Nothing to do we me, its all youse. Who can we blame? Yeah, parents, of course, they're to blame for everything. They ran the world.

      And I bet you're both still at home, will be till you retire at 45, put the parents into nursing home, sell the house and go on that long-deserved holiday that someone tweeted you. Its all just a FaceBlur, isn't it,

      Don't worry, you'll get you chance to tweet your pure values to your children, if you ever take time enough away from shopping, latte drinking and restaurant grazing to drop a quick sprog, then return to tweetsville.

      What a spoilt little blamer you are.

      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:21AM
    • +1. Anything involving money is a game, so don't hate the player - hate the game (game meaning business, not the sport). You Baby Boomers have taught Gen Y well, maybe a little too well?

      Black Palm
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:31AM
    • The generation of S-Q-F problem is S-A-S, - Short Attention Span. Nothing to do with the money. They can't finish anything and are not willing to be patient or do the hard slog.

      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:49AM
    • True! Plus, you really can't expect any loyalty. The parents of these players have grown up in an age where they have seen 'their' favourite players shafted by clubs (as the loyalty seems to only go one way) so therefore they know that their kid may only play for a few years, and the club will toss them as soon as they are injured, so best to look after Number 1 while you can.

      Another point, is the parent themselves nowadays seem to live through their kids, wanting their kids to be what they were not. You see it around sporting fields every weekend. I would say those parents give us so much for their kids (regardless of whether the kids want it or not) and they then take a much bigger role in the choices should the kid be successful. Folau is a good example. It is his family and church (who are getting a cut) who are pushing this kid to make decisions based on money. I feel for him, he is not quite like Cooper & the others, have not seen that kid smile for a very long time :(

      Sunshine Coast
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 7:55AM
    • I know how you feel Richard. I too never had the talent to be chased from career to career and am left sitting here in my shiny tracksuit casting yellow aspertions on those with more talent in their wee finger than my entire artillary of typing fingers.
      You write like a kid who never got off the bench (for political reasons of course).

      Ivory tower
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 8:11AM
    • Well Said. The truth hurts and surely many a Gen X /Baby boomer will be here quick sticks with a quiver of denial statements. But this is undeniably true.

      I have seen so many spoiled kids in this country since returning from overseas. This shouldn't be a shock to adults of children at all.

      However, when the team/organisation (in ANY industry) is exploiting the health and wealth of players and throwing them in front of (or under...) the celebrity life-destroying media. Exploit them back!! The only way players can do this is by attempting to bump up their salaries. To say this is poor form is deliciously naive and indicative of a general populous who shine their ignorance like the morning sun.

      Dave d7b
      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 8:25AM
    • Richard, do you seiously think that this kid is smart enough to play poker with these sums of money against the administrations of the sports?!! No mate. He is being lead by his MANAGER and those around him set to gain from his mercinary status.
      you want to call him a mercinary, then remember what the true meaning is.
      He knows not what he does.

      Date and time
      December 04, 2012, 8:38AM

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