The Butterfly Effect

08/07/2013

The Butterfly Effect

By Courtney Beaton

When a small change at one place results in large difference in a later state it is referred to as the Butterfly Effect

The theory is based on whether a butterfly that flutters its wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. It is a metaphor of chaos theory and if some recent reports are anything to go by, the Wests Tigers could become a club in a state of chaos.

Despite being contracted to the Tigers until the end of 2015, rumours are rife that a switch to Union is on the cards for Wests Tigers playmaker Benji Marshall who recently admitted that he would be stupid not to consider a switch to Rugby after receiving an offer from the Auckland Blues.

A few days ago Ben Everill wrote on smithyspeaks.com.au about the importance of players like Sonny Bill Williams and why the NRL needs to be doing more to keep them in the game. He looks at it from an on-field perspective, but off-field, players like Marshall and Williams are proving just as influential.

In our short and sweets July 6 section Smithy also touches on the ‘saga’ and the tough decision that is being faced by both Marshall and the Tigers not only because of his potential impact on the field, but  the repercussions this decision will have on the club off-field.

This isn’t the first time a player has switched clubs and it won’t be the last. Take Jamie Soward as a case study – not only did he sign with another club mid-season, he was dropped to play in the NSW Cup due to a performance slump before being released to finish the year in Europe. It was only in 2010 that Soward was the linchpin in the Red V’s premiership winning team and now it is as if he disappeared into thin air –he jumped on a big jet plane and that is the last we really heard of him. For now at least.

Similarly, Marshall starred in the Tigers only premiership in 2005 and captained New Zealand to a World Cup win in 2008. But he has (or is?) slumped in form earlier this year which saw him benched so his pending future has everyone talking.

The biggest thing setting both SBW and Benji apart is their marketability.

Although his recent on-field performances have been lacklustre compared to his ‘can do no wrong’ performances a few years ago, someone like Benji, performing or not, is idolised by current juniors and adored by thousands of fans.

And this is where the butterfly effect comes into play…

If Benji Marshall stays and his performance doesn’t improve who is the player that has to remain in their cocoon? Or forced to find another home? And what impact will this have on the clubs future? You only had to see the damage Andrew Fifita caused on Friday night. His migration to the Sharks after rejection by the Tigers previous coaching staff to create cap space for Benji and Robbie and expensive Storm import Adam Blair has certainly seen him spread his wings and fly straight into the Origin squad. Ouch.

If Benji switches codes, how many junior players will switch codes too? And fans may switch clubs if not codes. What impact will this have on the future of the larger organisation the NRL?

The Tigers as a club are under fire at present, with Marshall being the conduit holding many of the fans together. If he leaves, will there by a mass exodus of members and supporters?

Maybe even chaos.