WHAT are we to make of Will 'Sanchez' Genia's reported move to the Western Force?
When the news broke Saturday night, emotion drove many to vent on social media. I know my first reaction to the news was something like 'Come on Sanchez, tell us it's not true!' And for a team that lives or dies on its connection with the public, this venting is good news for the Reds, I suppose, but it is somewhat misguided.
Also, a point needs to be made early on here. It would appear that Genia has not signed anything with the Force; the Reds have simply pulled out of the race for his signature, and in the PR tussle for the upper-hand in perception management, asserted that he has already signed with the mob from the west.
Further to this, with the way contracts are structured within Aussie rugby, I'm sure final confirmation of any Super contract is wrapped up with the players' deal with the ARU.
But let's not kid ourselves too much, it would seem certain Sanchez is off to the west.
I know one thing for sure, the QRU will be pragmatic and conciliatory in the press, but they'll be 'as one' in their level of "filthiness".
There is still tangible 'displeasure' with the Force at the QRU; memories of their cannibalisation of the Reds a few years back are still very, very strong.
So, there's bad news for Reds rugby should Genia move. Obviously not having him in the state to promote the code and assist in winning footy games will be missed.
To a large degree, the Reds have become prisoners of their own success. Ewan Mckenzie and Paul Carozza (academy coach) get players on the cheap, develop them and turn them into stars on a winning team. This results in the players' market value increasing, more often than not making them too 'hot' for the very club that developed them to keep them.
This is a reality of professional sports.
The positives? Well, Sanchez's departure should leave a bit of extra cash in the budget to divert to other areas, and/or players. And it provides an opportunity for others to move into the vacuum. The news that Ben Lucas, a scrumhalf that has been playing anywhere but whilst Genia has been around, has signed with the Reds for the immediate future is timely (did he know something we didn't?) and comforting.
The other positive of Sanchez's move, should it be to the Force, is that he is still of enormous value to Australian Rugby. With all the opportunity out there in 2012 for someone of his talents from rugby league, AFL maybe, and 'cashed up' OS rugby teams, it's quite remarkable we'll still be able to see him running around in Wallaby Gold.
One other point is Genia is moving to a team without a full-time head coach. Or is he? Does he know something we don't?
A quick scan of the net sees more than one site has 'confirmed' Michael Chieka, former Leinster and current Stade Francais leader, as coach for 2013. It'll be interesting how that pans out, too. In the end of the day, player movement is a reality of professional sport. You can't keep them all. What is also a reality is that rugby endures. Players, coaches and administrators move on, but the code endures. And I can't see Sanchez's move, or another player move within the code for that matter, changing that.