The Art of Wining and Dining
Wined, dined and sixty nined. That’s what convinced Cheese to take his gifts to Bondi. And it’s not the first time this off-season that a good wining and dining ended with a star player signing a contract.
It’s actually a common misconception that money talks, because in this day and age you need more than money to sign a good player. Without the ability to wine and dine, you may as well rename your club “Wests Tigers” and give up on signing any decent talent, in fact, you’ll have to sit back and watch other clubs sign YOUR talent.
So how do you wine and dine? What do clubs really do to convince players to sign? Let’s dive into some key areas of a classic wine and dine (and sixty-nine).
This one is probably obvious, it’s in the name. But as obvious as it is, it can be one of the hardest parts of the wine and dine to pull off. NRL players eat a lot of food, so there is a good chance they have eaten whatever it is you are going to feed them. So unless you defeat the odds and find something they have not eaten, you need the food to be top quality. Trent Robinson nailed this with Cheese, making homemade pizzas. Not only did he provide good food, but he also provided an experience. Cheese had eaten pizza before, but he hadn’t experienced it. Hats off to Robbo here.
The wine is the first punch in a one-two punch of a wine and dine, in fact, I don’t know why I am listing it second. Now, in all honesty, I have no idea when it comes to wine, except that red wine looks cooler. But let’s face the facts, footy players aren’t too bright, so when it comes to wine they probably have the same idea as me; none. Just provide a cheap red, and hide the price or alternatively, buy a really expensive bottle and make sure the player knows the price of the bottle, it will make them feel important.
The real secret to a successful wine and dine isn’t the wine or the dine, it’s who you’re wining and dining with. Reed Mahoney signed with the bulldogs off the back of a Chinese dinner and, unless it was from a small country town out west, the Chinese was probably ordinary. Reed didn’t sign because of the dine, and we don’t know about the wine, so we can assume it was because of who he was wining and dining with. If you put a player in a Trent Barrett/Gus Gould sandwich, you will be able to get them to do anything. Why do you think the dogs have signed so many players? It’s because they have all been sandwiched between Gus and Trent. Even the NRL has agreed to overlook the Canterbury salary cap because Trent and Gus told them to not worry about it. If you want to sign a star, give them a star to wine and dine with.
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