Tuesday 18 November 2008

Michael Robertson a marquee player?

According to player manager Steve Gillis he is. Picked your jaw up from the floor yet? Here’s the direct quote from Gillis. “Michael is a marquee player.” Don’t get me wrong the guy did score a hat-trick of tries in the Grand Final, deserved to win the Clive Churchill Medal (but didn’t) and also became an international this season but his agent is on some seriously potent medication if he thinks his client is a marquee player. Robertson probably came close to getting into the Kangaroos World Cup squad on the strength of his Finals form, but classifying him as an international when it comes to contract negotiations lacks substance given Robertson’s games for Scotland in this tournament were the first time he’d played for that country. But the job of a player manager is to get the best deal for his client – however the mooted $200,000 per year figure is ridiculous even for a guy who does his job done each week and exploded in the biggest game of the season with three tries and a try assist in the Grand Final. At his best Robertson is an above average NRL winger. He never looked up to scratch while with the Raiders and was plagued by hamstring issues in his 5 seasons there but his move to the Northern Beaches in 2006 saw him get some regular playing time once healthy. He does the important things well like finishing, scooting out from dummy half, defending his man and he can cover fullback if needed. He rarely gets targeted in the air despite his lack of height and has good support instincts. But being an above average NRL winger shouldn’t result in a mass payday for Robertson. The fact is there are a lot of very average wingers in the competition and that inflates his true value. His market value won’t be any higher than it is now so I can understand why his manager is shopping him but he’s not going to have a massive impact on your team’s ability to win football games. He is not a match-winner (few wingers in history have been) and generally a marquee player at the NRL level wins matches. Some teams might flirt with offering Robertson overs if the Sea Eagles don’t try and keep him past next season but they’d be better off investing that money in shoring up positions that are far more vital to a team’s success – like hooker, halfback or fullback. The stat line: Michael Robertson, Winger. 2006-2008 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 79 Games 38 Tries (48.1% Strike Rate) 54 Wins 25 Losses (68.4% Win Percentage) 2001-2005 Canberra Raiders 59 Games 15 Tries (25.4% Strike Rate) 29 Wins 29 Losses 1 Draw (49.2 Win %) Overall Record 2001-2008 133 Games 53 Tries (39.8% Strike Rate) 83 Wins 54 Losses 1 Draw (60.1% Win Percentage) 1 Premiership (MAN 2008), 2 Grand Final Appearances (MAN 2007 & 2008)