LONG-SERVING Yenda Blueheelers secretary Sam Panarello has lashed out at what he describes as a lack of respect and decency from local players looking to switch clubs.
The widely-respected Group 20 figure believes the apex of the game, the NRL, is "breeding disloyalty" at the grassroots by setting a bad example when it comes to player movement.
His comments were prompted by the receipt of a clearance certificate that confirmed Andrew Ngu has severed ties with Yenda to join brother Viliami, the new co-coach at the Waratahs Tigers - which came before the player had even informed Panarello of his intention to leave.
"The clearance came through without even giving me the courtesy of a phone call," he fumed.
"I'd heard the rumour he was going and I tried to make contact on numerous occasions, but I still haven't heard back.
"That's no slight on the Waratahs because I speak to (president) Ken Wells weekly, and we keep each other informed.
"The thing is, you can play wherever you want, but you have to pay your dues. If there's one side of league that disappoints me, it's this.
"When I'm about to sign a player, they must go back to their current club and either give them the option to offer a new deal, or at least tell them you are moving on."
Panarello believes the climate in country football has shifted after years of players and clubs breaking contracts in the NRL, with locals knowing no better than to copy them.
"This is my 15th year as secretary and it's never been like this," he said.
"Those four premierships we won in a row in Yenda, those 10 grand finals we played in - that was built around a group of core players who never had a contract. We shook hands. It meant something.
"Country football is more about passion, not the nest egg. Sometimes our local kids forget that.
"Last year another one of my players wanted to move on. I said to him, 'Why? I got you your first job, sent you overseas to qualify for tournaments and that doesn't count?'
"He said, 'Sam, get over it. They aren't loyal in the NRL. We have got to look for where the best deal is for us.'
"Our kids are even jumping clubs at junior level, and it's happening because it's happening in Sydney.
"It's not all because their mates are at another club. It's just the way it is now."