Hodges: Where players are going wrong in cash grab
When I first came into grade there was nowhere near the talk about player contracts and who was going where because back even 10 or 15 years ago there was a lot of loyalty in the game both ways.
Clubs were loyal to players and in return players were loyal to the club but as the money has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger that loyalty has started to disappear.
As a young kid at the Broncos it was about earning your stripes before you got paid what you were worth but now with the influence of player managers and other outside influences young players are asking for more money than perhaps they actually deserve.
Players such as Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis and Paul Gallen demand that type of money because they're worth it but then you see younger players with far less on their resume being paid close to $1 million a season. I've got no doubt that the growing influence of player managers has driven a lot of that.
Back 10 years ago if a player wanted to stay at a club then they'd stay and get whatever the club could afford to pay them and I know at the Broncos we would stay for less money because it was a club where you knew you were going to be successful.
When I left the Broncos to go to the Roosters in 2002 it caused some issues at Brisbane but the reason I went down there was for the opportunity to play fullback.
Everyone thought the Roosters were offering a lot more money but the difference between the two was only $25,000 which in terms of living in Sydney probably meant I was actually worse off.
If I'd had the opportunity to play fullback at the Broncos I wouldn't have left in the first place but when you've got such a great player as Darren Lockyer in front of you, you don't think that's going to happen.
Where players are going wrong with their contracts at the moment is that they are thinking more about money than they are about their future.
If you are at a successful club and you're winning grand finals, playing Origin, playing for your country then the money will come eventually and you are achieving things in the game that have been your dream since you started playing as a kid.
When I saw players such as Ben Te'o and Corey Norman leaving the Broncos to take up big money offers at other clubs I took it upon myself to speak to them about it. I told them that while there would be big money out there it might not necessarily make them happy.
I was great mates with those blokes and I cared about them so I didn't want them to simply chase the money and not be happy.
For me it was about winning premierships, playing in grand finals and playing State of Origin football. If you're taking big money to go to a club that's not successful then you're not going to fulfil your dreams of playing all those things.
The reality of the relationship between players and their managers is that the more money the player gets the more money the manager gets.
You don't see it with all managers, some managers do care for their players' welfare, and that's where all this gets lost. Yes, the player manager is doing a wonderful job by getting what their player is worth on the market, but is their player happy? Are they having that conversation with their player about being happy where they are?
Sometimes managers can be very persuasive where they don't give a player an out. They take an offer to a player without perhaps painting the full picture of the options that are available to them.
I know that if you're not perhaps the star player then you don't get a lot of attention from your manager until you come off contract and the manager suddenly realises they have to get you some money so that they get paid.
That's something we need to fix, making sure we have the right managers in our game to make sure our players are looked after, not just financially, but with regards to their welfare.
All the speculation in the media can have a big effect on the playing group but it comes down to each individual and their personality.
It didn't bother me personally when player movements were being talked about, but now, with the Broncos signing Jack Bird and the money that's being talked about, it would only be natural for the likes of Darius Boyd and Anthony Milford to start to wonder what they should be getting paid.
Darius has done everything there is in the game and is captain of the club so if a player like Jack Bird is getting anything close to $1 million a season then 'Boydy' should be worth $1 million-plus.
The gates have opened up now for boys to really have a good crack and I don't blame them.
Whatever the top players get paid they deserve because they've been long servants of the game, but I hope they always stop to consider what's going to make them happy before taking the big bucks.
It was great to see Broncos centre James Roberts have such a good game against his old club the Titans last week but the challenge for Jimmy now is to produce those types of performances on a weekly basis. When you play for the Broncos you understand that every team gets up to play you because it's on a Friday night in front of 35,000 people and it's a massive game every week. What he has to learn is that he can't have off games; he's got to get to that stage where he is having great games every week.