Club rugby players putting hands out instead of hands up

Joe Dobson
Joe Dobson
Joe Dobson misses rugby, although much of what he loved about it is quickly disappearing.

The 32-year-old played more than 50 premier matches as a loose forward for Dunedin and was part of the 2009 banner-winning side.

That team is preparing for a 10-year reunion next week, although much has changed in that decade.

The premier grade has lost a team and discussion continues over the state of the sport.

For Dobson, who recently won an Oceania wrestling title, a key problem came in the increasing rarity of the player who just plays for the love of the game.

"The camaraderie of footy is really good, but I think, unfortunately, rugby's changing," he said.

"What you're finding now is that people are putting their hands out, instead of putting their hands up because they want to play.

"It's like `what are you going to give me to play for your team?' I really detest that.

"You should play footy because you love playing footy."

He said the grafters who hang around year after year do not get enough credit.

Club stalwarts such as Zingari-Richmond's Chris Bell and Dunedin's Mark Grieve-Dunn were ones he felt needed to be celebrated more.

They embodied those who played simply because they love rugby - not because they were going to be All Blacks.

Dobson made national sides as a teenager but to him it was about playing the game and not what was in it for him.

The social element of the game was waning and he felt that was sad.

"I think the people that keep putting their hands out are detracting from what rugby's about.

"Rugby's about working together as a team and having a good time with your mates. You go to war, that's what rugby was to me, going to war with your mates.

"That's what I really enjoyed about it.

"But now you're getting these players that have been looked after and it's changing.

"You can see that - we've lost a lot of teams and our playing structures are going.

"I don't think it's because of the mums and dads, I think it's because our senior clubs are changing."

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