Josh McGuire has had a bumpy journey at the Cowboys. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Josh McGuire has had a bumpy journey at the Cowboys. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Those chasing the big bucks risk a career nosedive

NRL players would do well to heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin, the American founding father who, almost 300 years ago, preached that "money has never made man happy, nor will it".

In an instant I can think of a dozen players who have shifted camp in recent years - chasing the big bucks - and whose careers have either stalled, or their demeanour has changed for the worse. And in this age of unrelenting social media abuse, most have been savaged by disgruntled fans.

Let's start with Josh McGuire. During the off- season, the Kangaroos and Maroons forward jumped from the Broncos to the Cowboys to "secure his future". Interpret that as a longer contract, and more money.

While Josh says he is enjoying his stint with the Cowboys, his body language and on-field behaviour tell a different story.

While always super- aggressive, he has never previously resorted to the grubby tactics for which he has been charged three time this season.

Ash Taylor is another lost soul. Earmarked four years ago as the next big thing, he headed for the glitter and gold of the Gold Coast. Sadly, his career has disintegrated.

Taylor is sinking under the pressure of his $1 million-a-season contract, so much so that he has taken stress leave and been relegated to the Queensland Cup.

Reportedly on $1 million a season, Ash Taylor has struggled.
Reportedly on $1 million a season, Ash Taylor has struggled.

Other big-name Titans imports also on inflated pay packets and not delivering include Tyrone Peachey, Bryce Cartwright and Shannon Boyd.

Then there's the sad tale of Kieran Foran. Rated one of the best players in the game, he left the Sea Eagles for the Eels at the end of the 2015 season on a rich four-year contract and played just nine games before his career, and personal life, hit an all-time low. The following year he joined the Warriors, then last season signed with the Bulldogs - for a reported $1 million a season.

In the four years since leaving Manly, Foran has played 48 NRL matches and now - supposedly - the Dogs are keen to offload him. His career is on the skids.

Josh Reynolds is another prime example of the grass not being greener on the other side. Although he was virtually forced out of the Bulldogs' kennel when they signed Foran, he picked up a handy $3 million with his four-year contract at the Tigers. Two years into the deal the career of the former Origin halfback is in limbo, with the Tigers telling him he is no longer wanted.

While the situation with Ben Hunt is somewhat different, he is on record as saying he regrets the day he left Brisbane.

Hunt became one of the highest-paid NRL players at the end of 2017 when he joined the Dragons on a $6 million, five-year deal. But such has been the pressure exerted on the halfback since, aside from the personal attacks, he has enlisted the aid of a psychologist.

And the way the Broncos are travelling at the moment, they probably regret not offering him more to stay at Red Hill.

Others whose careers have nosedived since leaving the virtual comforts of home for the big bucks include Jesse Ramien, Jordan McLean and Tohu Harris. And none of them appear happy either.