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Raiders make them, others take them

Raiders youngster Anthony Milford has reportedly asked for a release from his Canberra contract.

Raiders youngster Anthony Milford has reportedly asked for a release from his Canberra contract. Photo: Melissa Adams

Fed-up Raiders development officers have demanded the NRL overhaul the system to reward clubs who develop juniors as they try desperately to keep star rookie Anthony Milford.

The Raiders' frustration is reaching breaking point as they face the prospect of losing another youngster they've spent years developing.

Canberra high-performance and development manager David Hamilton urged the NRL to seriously consider introducing transfer fees to deter clubs from poaching players others have nurtured.

The club confirmed on Monday Milford's manager, Sam Ayoub, has formally asked for a release from the final year of his contract next season to be close to his ill father in Brisbane.

The Broncos are near certain to sign Milford, who has starred in his breakthrough NRL season, should the Raiders agree to activate a clause in his contract relating to family illness.

Canberra intends to wait until after the season to resolve the 19-year-old's future.

Disillusioned by other clubs benefiting from Canberra Raiders development, Hamilton said the NRL must introduce incentives for clubs to develop their own talent.

''There has to be some sort of deterrent there,'' he said. ''Even if it is compassionate grounds, what about all the money that's been invested in Anthony? Surely the club is entitled to some sort of benefits back.

''A junior doesn't have to be from your own backyard. If you've invested in a kid and he goes through the system and someone wants to take him, you should be entitled to some decent reimbursement.''

The Raiders pride themselves on development, but Hamilton said it was frustrating when other clubs benefited.

''You start thinking are we running the business the right way?'' he said. ''We could save that money and just buy a great player. But that isn't what this club is about, we've always been about development and opportunities.''

Souths-Logan based Raiders scout Brian Edwards put Milford into Canberra's system as a 13-year-old. He backed Hamilton's call for a fairer transfer system.

''For developing your own, you have to be compensated for it,'' he said. ''If the Raiders, or any other club for that matter, want to put big money into developing players, there should be a reward. The NRL Commission is here now, they've got to investigate what is it worth to a club and the league to develop a player? You could just stop putting money into development and buy players by offering 'overs'.''

Legend Darren Lockyer applauded the salary cap for evening the competition, but agreed an incentive to develop players would be welcome.

''The salary cap's done a great job in making the competition close, but there's things that need to be tweaked,'' he said. ''If we can reward loyalty and reward clubs for developing their youngsters, I think that's great.

''I don't know the exact solution, but there's a number of things which need to be looked at and I'm hearing [NRL boss] David Smith and the commission will sit down at the end of the season and work out answers that fans, clubs and players are on the same page with.''


  • The age of the super savvy agent is dawning. Old fashioned themes of loyalty, fairness and 'the right thing' will be cashed in on as quickly as you can say 8/15 % commission.
    The NRL might do well to look at the evolution of the English Premier League player contract over the last 5 years to see how mercilessly agents have exploited a system which to a significant degree is based on good faith and ethics.
    Anyone who thinks Dugan's departure was anything less than an agents well executed game play is overdue for a wakeup call, one that milord and ayoub should provide.

    Deep fried destruction
    Date and time
    August 07, 2013, 10:34AM
    • For years the Raiders have been a 'feeder club' for others in the NRL who poach Canberra's young talent, often before they've had the chance to play any or much first grade. Transfer fees should be part of agreements for players to move, but don't make them so ridiculous that it makes it impossible for players to take up other offers. Transfer fees should put some money back into the coffers of clubs that have identified and nurtured young talent - and that doesn't come for free.
      Same could apply for cricket too - the Comets players were poached for years until the team became less competitive and were dropped from the top level competition.

      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 11:07AM
      • The Canberra Raiders have contributed to their demise, they are playing like School Boys in a professional environment, and the longer they continue the more this will happen. Over the past 10 years we have all heard how good our U/20's are and how that they are the "Next Crop" and to be "Patient" with the team, and the coach as bigger and better things are on the horizon. Out of that "Next Crop" the following players are no longer at the Raiders, Todd Carney, Josh Dugan, William Zillman, Justin Carney, Daniel Vidot, and soon to include Joel Thompson and Sam Williams. And if you talk to all the insiders they say that yet again were on the verge of brining the "Next Crop" through, Milford, Cornish, Lee, Heffernan etc.. What’s to say that it won’t happen again, and in 5 years’ time were still talking about the same problems? The REAL question is why do they all leave? What makes people chase extra money away from the Raiders and why do players like Thurston take pay cuts to stay loyal? Is there a management problem, is it a culture problem? Whatever it is, it’s not getting any better or going away... it’s getting worse. The most concerning thing of all is that the Raiders themselves are not able to see the big picture.. They continue to play the "poor us" mantra. Just look at how well the Bulldogs have done in the last 2-3 years, just shows how important it is to have a pro-active manager, one who wants to take the club forward....

        Date and time
        August 07, 2013, 11:13AM
        • This sums up for me. What are the reasons for leaving. Oppurtunities? Money? Prestige?
          Salary cap would suggest Money isn't a big factor so must be location?
          Raiders have the history and should have the culture to keep players. Daley, Meninga, Stuart, Clyde etc stayed here.
          Not as stimple as transfer fees, culture will still be key. And in the premier league a trasnfer is essentially used to 'pay out' the contract. There are free to move once they are a free agent. So restraint of trade becomes an issue.

          Date and time
          August 07, 2013, 11:44AM
        • You make some valid points in regards as to why we may have lost some of the players you mentioned. There are definitely major issues with the management at the club the nepotism of the Furners and McIntyres is palpable, they also seem more interested in building the clubs business portfolio than a successful football squad.

          However of the players you mentioned, Todd carney and Dugan were serial offenders who had to be sacked for the greater good after umpteen chances. Justin Carney is playing park football after a brief stint at the roosters, Vidot also had off field issues and in my opinion is a very average player, especially in defence, and the Dragons have payed massive overs for Thompson.

          The only player we should have held onto is Williams, how McCrone is staying ahead of him has got me beat, staggeringly poor decision.

          As for Milford if we really can't convince him to stay then we should get some type of trade from the broncos as compensation.

          Date and time
          August 07, 2013, 4:17PM
      • like i mentioned on an earlier article....if they weren't such an ill-disciplined off field club (Dugan, Carney, Ferguson) they would be able to keep their Marquee players and not have to push them out due to misdemeanors. The Milford situation is uncontrollable and unlucky for the club. That one they need to take on the chin unfortunately. But there does seem to be an issue here where players aren't reaching their full NRL potential til they leave and find their own.

        Date and time
        August 07, 2013, 11:17AM
        • If it isn't about the money, then let him sit on the sideline for the 2014 season... he can then spend plenty of time with his family... give him some time to bulk up and perhaps grow up, and also realise what giving your word, and signing a contract actually means.

          Date and time
          August 07, 2013, 11:29AM
          • He's dad is seriously ill living in another state, any decent human being would want to move home to be with their sick parent. This is only a job, only money, family comes before this, for most people anyway. I've lost a parent one who was in a similar position to Anthony's Dad, when you're that sick it can happen very quickly, I wish I'd spent more time with my dad... So I guess I would be one of many who'd have to 'grow' up and realise what signing a 'work' contract really means, hey! But thank god I work to live NOT live to work!!

            Date and time
            August 07, 2013, 12:29PM
        • The Raiders have a huge culture problem at the club and it starts at the top. They have there inner click and if you are on the outside of that you get shafted, A perfect example of this if Jarrod Croaker at any other club he would be in NSW cup and Jack Wighton would be in his spot but at the Raiders he is part of the in crowd so he remains and Wighton only gets in when someone is injered. The sooner the Furners, McIntyres and Hamilton are out of the club the better off they will be.

          Date and time
          August 07, 2013, 11:48AM
          • What are we at high school, the so called "in crowd".... haha

            Date and time
            August 07, 2013, 12:44PM

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