Graham Lowe: Australian RL is in big trouble

Former Wigan coach Graham Lowe believes that the Australian international team is entering a period of decline.

His simple explanation for it is that the NRL has focused on developing Polynesian players, who, because of their links to Pacific Island nations and New Zealand, are boosting the fortunes of countries other than Australia.

New Zealand managed their third consecutive win over the Kangaroos last weekend in the trans-Tasman Test, and Lowe thinks that the men in black will dominate for years to come.

Australia is in big trouble internationally, major trouble,” Lowe, who also coached the New Zealand national team in his career, said, according to Australian paper The Daily Telegraph.

“The Kangaroos aren’t being left behind — they have already been left behind. They have missed the boat all because of the greed of NRL clubs.

“The NRL clubs continue to develop Polynesian players because of their explosive power. This though at the cost of developing their own Australian players.

“And it is the Australian Test team that will pay the cost.”

Lowe believes that Tonga and Samoa are developing so fast that soon they will also move ahead of the Kangaroos in terms of international performance.

“I think Tonga and Samoa would beat Australia at the moment and I’m sure the powers that be in Australia can see it too,” he added.

“I’m the first to agree the NRL is a dynamic competition featuring the best players in the world, but it’s also too big for its boots.

“The NRL is trying to brainwash us into thinking they are developing players but they are developing players for other nations. This is becoming a dream for New Zealand.

“The best players popping out the end of junior competitions aren’t Aussies.”

Lowe is also backing the Kiwis to remain at the pinnacle of the international game for decades, rather than just a couple of years.

New Zealand will reign supreme over Australia for the next 20 years and maybe even longer,” he said.

“I reckon the Kiwis can win 10 of the next 15 Tests.

What happened last Sunday was the tip of the iceberg. This all comes back to fragility of Australia’s development systems.

“Look at the under 16s and under 18s in Sydney. About 50 per cent of those kids have Polynesian heritage and that means direct links back to New Zealand.

“When those kids become NRL players they are eligible to play for New Zealand, Samoa or Tonga. Australia’s best offer is to try and lure the Kiwi players into State or Origin. That is the only way for Australia to stop the talent flowing going to overseas.”

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