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Rugby League: Bradford bow to the inevitable [Sep. 30th, 2009|03:51 pm]
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Bradford have bowed to the inevitable by coming to terms with South Sydney for the early release of Sam Burgess from his contract.

The Test forward has agreed a four-year deal with the Bunnies, starting next season, with the Bulls receiving a substantial fee by way of compensation.

The unavoidable fact in all this is that Burgess wanted to go and, from the point of view of fulfilling his potential as a player, is quite right to want to.

Of course, the lifestyle is an attraction and it must be flattering when someone of the worldwide profile of Russell Crowe comes head-hunting you.

But Burgess is a serious-minded young player and he knows the only way to kick on is to play in the best competition in the world. I'm not sure he's picked the right club, but he wasn't going to improve shouldering so much of the burden at Bradford.

He now forms part of a little exodus of British forwards to Oz, but I can't get too alarmed by that.

Gareth Ellis has been a huge success at Wests Tigers, who have also picked up Wigan's promising Mark Flanagan.

The difference between this and the raids on our playing strength in the 70s is that the numbers are a lot less and that there is no issue over international availability. 30-odd years ago, players like Malcolm Reilly were lost to the Great Britain team when they signed for Australian clubs.

Now Ellis and Burgess will still be available to play for their country - and we should feel the benefit of there antipodean adventures, just as we did with Adrian Morley.