“There isn’t enough talent”, “Some teams are forced to buy players”, “How do we even the junior playing field?”
They’re arguments that come up every season. Teams like the Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos have large junior nurseries, capable of ushering through new players like they come off an assembly line.
Looks can be deceiving in that respect. Without a well-structured junior program and significant investment in the junior coaching ranks, diamonds can be missed and talents slip through to other clubs.
Other clubs are perceived to buy their way to success, with the argument being they are sometimes forced into the position because there simply aren’t enough players in their junior catchment.
Whenever these sorts of arguments arise, often a solution that is tabled is an NRL rookie draft. AFL is the only Australian league to have one. Overseas the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all have drafts.