The Gold Coast Titans have just signed their seventh Storm player – Beau Champion – who will be replacing their last Storm signing, Joseph Tomane.
They certainly think a lot of Storm players. Wanted Steve Turner, took Jake Webster, Sam Tagatese, Ian Donnelly, Chris Walker and Nathan Friend, tried to poach Cam Smith and Kevin Proctor, and then got a young homesick Joseph Tomane to sign for them before he’d even started negotiations with Storm.
The latter event was a real shame because Craig Bellamy was beginning to solve Tomane’s defensive problems. If he had achieved his goal, and history suggests he would have, Tomane was destined to become the new G.I.
The Titans, like most NRL teams, don’t bother developing young talent and have left Tomane languishing in the Queensland Cup while going out and recruiting another centre from … you guessed it, THE STORM.
Homesickness has always been a problem for Melbourne with all its players coming from NSW, QLD or New Zealand – made worse if players’ partners aren’t prepared to move with them (which with three year deals really astounds me).
This is why the Storm should have had salary cap concessions from the beginning.
It’s sad to watch excellent players like Champion and Chase Stanley depart for family reasons. But as Bellamy stated it just gives someone like Elijah Niko an opportunity.
Hopefully in the coming weeks a particular young star will re-sign with the club because Melbourne is his home – Gareth Widdop.
The Storm will continue to develop young players and give older ones a second chance at NRL level while the rest of the competition will continue to poach.