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Consistency is all about controlling the controllables

by Tony Currie, Murri Rugby League Consistency is what makes the great teams in the NRL and for that matter any team in any competition. Performance comes from routine and practice.

For many players, routine can become boring and subsequently their attitude to training and the team environment drops. This drop in purpose and commitment leads to below par efforts. Every Coach knows this is a major problem area and is constantly

searching for ways to ensure players’ minds are on the job for every aspect of the preparation week. All clubs attempt to put players in a protective bubble and almost spoon-feed every element in their programs. Unfortunately, players cannot spend their entire

week in this environment. They do have to reenter the real world at some time and it is in this period where choices have to be made by individuals not Clubs. The NRL has had an eventful start to the season. Four rounds in and we have dealt with

The Rabbitohs’ [undefeated] start to the season has been mainly due to the quality of their player roster, including sensational early season form from fullback Greg Inglis. Image: Rhonda Hagan

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shoulder charges, spear tackles, contact with referees, obstruction rules and Inconsistency. Only two teams have stood up and shown they are the real deal to their fans. Melbourne and South Sydney are undefeated with the Storm most impressive with their consistency. They are led by an exceptional senior leader group made up of the fabulous Slater, Cronk and Smith. These three players are like an extension of Coach, Craig Bellamy, and continually re-enforce and strengthen the Storm creed away from football. Their influence and effect on the rest of the playing group is immense. Melbourne is advantaged by being in an AFL city with players, their partners and families bonding strongly away from the football field. Getting it right in this area is so important to the Melbourne Storm and it has shown with performance and the size of their trophy cabinet since their birth in the NRL competition. The Rabbitohs start to the season has been mainly due to the quality of their player roster. Their Coach, Michael Maguire, has given them structure and a gameplan suitable for winning. The biggest issue for Souths, I see, is how they handle the pressure of being under the microscope. The more success they create will turn the screw of media pressure upon players. Off-field performance will come under scrutiny as the media look for other angles to sell newspapers and get ratings. This is Michael Maguire’s greatest challenge and hurdle to the Rabbitohs winning a premiership in 2013. Enough has been said about the Ben Barba saga Page 2

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Tony Currie says he hopes, with all the professional help Ben Barba has at his disposal, he will realise life away from football is paramount to achieving results on the field. Image: Rhonda Hagan

and now we have the Josh Dugan follow up. It is quite evident that when you read about both players finishing long term relationships it is logical to assume that their offfield lives are full of issues and the players have lost a degree of control. Barba has taken time away to reassess and has only come back to the Bulldogs last week. His performance was outstanding considering the demons he will constantly fight. Hopefully, with all the professional help he has at his disposal, he will realise life away from football is paramount to achieving results on the field. I think he gets it and wish him all the best. Josh Dugan is another kettle of fish. I see a very perplexed young man with a lack

of purpose struggling through his early rugby league development. Everything about him exudes “lost” and I seriously have reservations about the quality of mentoring and professional assistance he will receive in overcoming his fight for stability off the field. I know he can play but so can thousands of youngsters in the game. He will be replaced and lately the Canberra Raiders have found a capable replacement in Reece Robinson. They have moved on as have the Broncos who have withdrawn their offer after Dugan’s latest rant on social media. I commend the Broncos on their decision considering their injury crisis and seemingly lack of strike player. They have made a

decision on their future and protecting their culture. Well done. Where does that leave Josh Dugan? He will find a club. When and where I do not know but I do know this: At the moment he is tainted goods. He needs to deliver away from the playing field. Rugby League is not the be all and end all in regards to his life. He might think that now but as he matures and realises that Rugby League only represents a small portion of his time on this planet he will realise life away from football is what it is all about. Consistency is all about controlling the controllables on and off the field. It’s all down to the individual. Remember Josh Dugan, your failures won’t hurt you until you start blaming them on others.


Consistency in rugby league  

Tony Currie on round 4 of rugby league 2013

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