Rules are to be adhered to by the foolish and are mere guidelines for the wise, was advice given to this writer by a man in authority many years ago. It certainly seems to apply to sports administrators.
In football in Western Australia we saw the transfer window come and go, yet ‘special dispensation’ was given for an out of favour Adrian Caceres to move clubs after the deadline from Floreat Athena to Bayswater City.
Now many in the rugby Union fraternity are up in arms as their code enters their finals this weekend and they see Western Force players being parachuted into sides competing in the finals.
Cottesloe will have Junior Rasolea in their side, and Nedlands will have Patrick Dellit in the blue and gold, while Wests Scarborough will have Pek Cowan, Jayden Hayward, and Sam Wykes take the park for them.
The requirement at the start of the season was that non-Force players had to play a minimum of six games to qualify for the finals series and Force players had to play three games. According to Rugby WA there has been some leniency over this as some players have been unable to fulfil that obligation, and have not played for the Force or their club due to injury, but were registered with the local club. That argument has merit.
The two players that seem to be causing the most angst amongst local rugby fans are Pek Cowan and Sam Wykes who were previously involved with Nedlands and University respectively, and were regular members of the Western Force’s starting XV.
Not The Footy Show has been advised that these players were ‘recently registered with Wests Scarborough,’ and that they have been assisting with coaching at the club for the past 4- 6 weeks. Pek Cowan’s children are also currently playing junior rugby at Wests.
However those key words have popped up again ‘special dispensation.’ Apparently this was the key to these two players being registered to take part in the finals, as they did not meet the criteria advocated at the start of the season.
Many will argue that this will bring more spectators through the gate, that it will raise the standard of the games, and that those playing alongside these players will benefit from the experience, and it would be had to argue with all of these points.
What is sad is that players who played all season and battled for their club to make the finals may well be deprived of the opportunity to play finals rugby. Some may never get that opportunity again in their life, be it for work reasons, injury or a wife who wants them at home on a Saturday!
Sport is competitive, and everyone who plays it wants to win, that is why rules are in place. It is never good to see rules changed at the end of the season, no matter how well intentioned the ‘dispensation’ may be, someone or some club will suffer because of it.
Having spoken to Rugby WA they have advised that next year the allocation of Force players to Pindan Premier Grade clubs will be more transparent to ensure that a similar situation does not occur in 2014.
(For the record this writer is a former Wests Player).