By Lee Stsce
WILL GENIA’S decision to turn his back on the attractive financial offer that the Western Force dangled under his nose was the right move.
And the fact that he decided to essentially take a pay cut by sticking with the Queensland Reds for the next three years illustrates just how hard it is for the mob from Western Australia to attract world-class cattle to their Perth surrounds.
Genia had the opportunity to become Australia’s highest-paid player. The Force had offered him a contract believed to be worth A$600,000, and when you add his Australian Rugby Union test match payments of A$180,000 (15 tests at A$12,000 per international) and top-up of A$200,000 into the mix, he could have pocketed close to A$1 million a season.
His about-face, though devastating to the Force, was the best decision he could have made at the end of the day.
Sure, the Reds could only offer him A$400,000 pay-packet per season, but as Genia said it wasn’t about the moolah.
At the end of the day, Genia wants to be part of a winning team; a team that is going places and filled with quality players.
Despite their somewhat mixed performances this season, Ewen McKenzie’s side ticks all those boxes, as was evidenced when they annexed the Super Rugby title last year in commanding fashion.
The Force are not a champion team. If anything, they are a rabble – and that is putting things kindly. Their results on the park have been far from convincing and they simply don’t have the class to push for a playoff spot.
The pint-sized halfback from Port Moresby would have regretted relocating if he did. He would have found that he was going forward in reverse while playing alongside recycled, hand-me-down New Zealand players and others who simply don’t cut the Super Rugby mustard.
Genia’s decision to ultimately turn down the Force’s handsome financial package speaks volumes about the current state of affairs in Perth. The set-up can’t be very good if he chose to thumb his nose at a large mountain of cash.
And that poses problems for the Force as they try desperately to cling to David Pocock, who is off contract at the end of the season, and attract other world-class players.
Right now, that will be easier said than done.
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.