Jason Taumalolo signed a long term deal with the Cowboys.

The Big League: Gen Y is not the problem

They say death and taxes are the only certainties in life, but I have one more thing to add to the list – someone, somewhere, complaining to me that modern rugby league ain’t what it used to be.

To that I say – of course it isn’t. It’s 2017.

Every fan in the game holds history up high and remembers the good old days fondly, and I do think that’s important. We need to know where we came from and celebrate the times that shaped the code, your club and your favourite players. But the only way for the game to prosper is to remember that it, like society around it, is far removed from decades passed. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s just different.

One big thing fans gripe about is player contracts and changes of clubs. It’s hard to cop when someone you follow leaves your colours behind, that’s for sure. From a player’s perspective however, things are much more complex. If they’re extremely lucky (barring injury and form), they’ll have 10-15 years to earn as much money as they can before the well runs dry. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Any of us would in the same situation.

Last week I got into a heated argument with a family member who spouted the idea that Gen Y is every cliché you’ve heard – disloyal, always looking for the next-best thing, difficult to work with.

Needless to say, I disagree and I’m prepared to fight against this to the death (too far?). Looking out for yourself and your family isn’t selfish, it’s smart.

That’s why Jason Taumalolo’s long-term deal sparked my excitement and threw up another great example for my argument – where being part of Gen Y and looking after your interests coincides with a working environment that’s healthy, happy and prosperous.

Taumalolo has everything he wants – security, trust and players and a coach he believes in. In turn, the Cowboys have nailed down an extraordinary talent and someone who will attract players to Townsville.

Win win win. While we can’t crack out a crystal ball and see exactly how this is going to go, that both parties trusted enough to make a leap of faith is proof that sometimes, things change for the better.

And another thing… Things are going pear-shaped for the Wests Tigers football-wise right now, but they’re still doing the right things off the field. This week in Big League we have a great story with the club’s fan engagement and community manager, former player Shaun Spence, who talks us through a new initiative they have started to support homeless people in the inner west.  A very uplifting story. 

The Round 5 issue of Big League is on sale now at newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available through Apple iTunes, Google Play or www.zinio.com.