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League Diaries - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 12 Jul 2008 10:51:00 GMT
Young bodies pushed to breaking point. Strength, agility and endurance. These are the words the rookies of rugby league live by.

In order to be picked you need to be the best and if that means putting your immature body on the line – then so be it. These teenagers are going to live for their dream, no matter what they have to sacrifice.

Let’s be realistic here. It is not a young man’s game, it’s a fit man’s game.

However I do not see the need or justification for subjecting young men to a world their bodies simply aren’t ready for. Ready being the operative word.

They are prepared, no doubt about that. These boys have been put through their paces.

Off season’s are pumped full of extra’s, diets, pills and needles. Am I saying the products and services used to enhance these boys’ bodies are illegal? No.

But I am saying the natural course of growing and maturing is severely altered and can never be redeemed.

Premier League for example is no comparison to first grade rugby league.

A boy who has taken hits from other boys (and possibly out of form men) is not ready, regardless of his off field training, to step onto those perfectly manicured fields and take hits from veteran players.

I am going to use the obvious target here – Benji Marshall.

Four shoulder surgeries later, this guy is in his early twenties and couldn’t even see the first match through this year due to instant injury.

This is not bad luck. Rather I believe it is the consequence of debuting at 18 years of age.

There is no comparison, in my eyes, to using the same ‘tried and tested’ training techniques on bodies that have up to a 10 year age gap.

While I’ll never be an expert on the male body, I do claim to have inherited some common knowledge.

The playing surfaces are better now than they ever have been, the boots players wear are ergonomically designed to suit individual needs, equipment and injury prevention tactics have been put in place to reduce the rising casualty rate.

But the way I see it the problem can only subside with age. Immature bodies being smashed every week while they are trying to grow and flourish – where is the game plan in that?

Imagine getting kicked down every time you got up to walk, the frustration would be overwhelming.

I realise elder and more experienced players obtain injuries as well.

Their worn out bodies are giving in to years of brutality but shouldn’t we change this outcome not encourage it earlier?

Or there is the other side of the fence.

Are players taking fewer risks with their injuries and taking a seat on the bench for fear of doing more damage? Did players before them put up with more and play through the pain because they were “allowed” to?

Clubs are investing a hell of a lot of money on young prodigy’s who are sidelined before their peak.

All their hard work does not pay off, it merely becomes an everyday grind to reach the opportunity of first grade again – before a new hero gets bought to replace them. - Read More, Here