Brumbies fans have reason for optimism - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies fans have reason for optimism

By David Beniuk 02/06/2009 06:10:40 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies concede their recruitment drive will pile on the expectation as Australia's most successful team becomes the Super 14's super franchise.

With star flanker Rocky Elsom declaring he is "pretty likely" to link with the Brumbies and young gun James O'Connor still a chance of joining him, the ACT-based side has assembled a stellar roster for 2010 revolving around returning five-eighth Matt Giteau.

The re-signing of George Smith and the arrival of Josh Valentine from the Western Force will bolster a squad which already includes current Wallabies Stirling Mortlock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Alexander and Stephen Moore.

Asked about the likelihood of his signing with the side, Elsom told Sydney radio station 2KY on Tuesday: "I think that is pretty likely.

"I've obviously got to sign and there's still a couple of things to be worked out but it looks like that way."

Brumbies coach Andy Friend said he expected a final answer from Elsom "within the next couple of days definitely".

Friend, though, is less confident about luring 18-year-old O'Connor from the Force.

"I'm probably less confident with James, just sitting back and letting him go through his decision-making process," the coach told AAP on Tuesday.

But Friend, who endured a horror first year at the helm of the Brumbies with the death of Shawn Mackay after an accident in Durban, knows his roster will have Canberrans expecting a repeat of the Brumbies' 2001 and 2004 triumphs.

"For Canberra people, as much as they love the Brumbies, there's an air of expectation every time we take the field so that's sort of part and parcel of being involved here," he said.

"(The recruitment) will definitely add to that."

When Canberra is involved, the obvious question would seem to be: Why are Australia's rugby stars flocking there?

"Canberra often gets a bad wrap," Friend said.

"But once you've lived here you find out life is pretty good down here.

"And I'd have to say that the signing of Matt Giteau, a Canberra boy coming home, that obviously adds a lot of credit."

Friend said the possibilities for third party deals with corporations were healthy in the national capital.

"The club's always meant a lot to people who live here so I'm sure there are interested parties out there who want to look to support players if they want to come here," he said.

"And there is money within Canberra so if those people are willing to part with that in order to assist in building a stronger Brumbies team that doesn't surprise me."

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill has said he would like to see third party deals audited and the Super 14 franchises' recruitment "protocols", which include agreed basic salaries for players, policed better.

"We've got a very small pool here and everyone's after similar players and I think as long as it's an even playing field across all teams, may the best team win," Friend said.

"If there's some other things going on that certain teams have the capability of being able to draw on some excess funds that others may not, then that's where it's probably uneven so if they wanted to audit that ... I can only see an upside to that.

"From all my observations I think the rules are reasonably clear and my belief is teams are sticking to that."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news