General Sport NRL

SALARY CAP OR SALARY CRAP?

What is the one thing that always has rugby league fans having the same argument every year about the game? If you answered that question by saying salary cap then I feel you would be spot on. How many times have you thought a team is over the cap but only to have people who support that team say there is no way. Well, join me here as I discuss how the problems could be fixed. 

The salary cap, the eternal issue with the NRL, we’ve seen teams stripped of trophies and points while others are fined for breaking the cap yet no punishment has ever been the same. Is it double standards from the NRL or is it more secret payments under the table by clubs to cover up simple anomalies, that is something that unfortunately we will never find out. However, I feel I may have a solution to this blight on our game that will be able to make it clearer. 

This point is probably going to be one of the biggest conversation starters out of this blog but let me say it, LET’S GET RID OF THE CAP! Now I know that is going to rile some people up but there is method to this rhetoric, it is my belief that instead of the clubs operating under a monetary cap they should operate under a points cap. 

As I said I know this is controversial but I feel a points cap system will allow the clubs to be rewarded for developing players in their own catchment areas. Now I can guess you are reading this wondering how this will work but I can explain that and it is as follows. The current salary cap is $9.5 million for the top 30 players in the roster plus there can be bonus’s and extra’s but for me the issue is the NRL tries to spin this story that the cap has/is evening out the talent across the league, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to call BS on that. 

Graph taken from NRL.com.au

We just need to look at the teams that are continually up the top of the ladder year after year and vice versa. The teams that have consistently been down the bottom of the ladder and appear to have no way to build is a sign that the competition’s salary cap is now flawed. How are teams expected to bring in the extra cash for TPA’s (Third Party Agreements) when the club is always at the bottom of the ladder? Yes, we need to look at the strength of the teams up the top of the ladder and admire them, but why are the same teams up there all the time? 

Graph taken from NRL.com.au

I feel that the top teams are exploiting the TPA’s to remain extra competitive at the top which is killing off the competition in regards to the other teams, and this is where I begin looking at the points cap and how it would work. This is my idea of how to even out the leagues talent pool. TPA’s are allowed but there is a hard cap for what each team can spend and a player can only have TPA’s. If that cap is breached by any amount even if it is by just 1 cent that team will lose all points to the point the breach is found and can no longer earn points for the remainder of the season. If they win the competition points, they will be split like a draw. Yes, that is punishing the team and the fans but if all clubs are fully aware of the risk involved then they are the ones that have hurt other teams and their fans buy breaching the rules to create a benefit for their organization.  

Now on to how the points cap will work, it is quite simply really, all players are given a rating out of 10. With 10 being top tier player while 1 is a rookie in their first season out of the juniors, the way it breaks down is as follows:  

For a player of Daley Cherry-Evens status he being a representative player who has played for Queensland and Australia he would be rated a 10 but due to being with Manly his whole career that rating would drop down to 5 for a loyalty bonus to the club which takes effect after 5 years. But in regards to a player like Kieran Foran he would be considered an 8-9 due to his past representative achievement’s but would not be allowed to receive the loyalty bonus as he has left the club and returned. 

Now I understand it’s difficult to work out a player’s value on points but that is why all clubs as well as the NSWRL, QRL, NZRL and ARL would have to nominate an assistant coach or football department member to be the clubs points cap assessor who would all interact with each other in regards to working out what points are attributed to the payers but anonymously from the playing group. Should the identity be found out that person is to be stood down for the remainder of the season and can never hold that position again. 

I understand this does seem complicated but I feel it will make it easier to understand as the players points cap numbers are set in stone for the duration of the contract, but here is my next step to change, there is contract transfers until May 31 at which the window shuts and players can’t leave their current club unless it is as an injury replacement cover. Prior to May 31 players can be traded by a club but only for a player of equal value or if no deal for a player can be agreed, the trade can go through but the player who leaves the club cannot play them for against his former club for the amount of time they had remaining on the contract at their prior club for example: 

Payne Hass wants to exit the Broncos at the end of next year but still has 2 years remaining on his deal the Broncos agree its best he leaves so attempt to facilitate a trade but can’t get a player of equal value in return Payne Hass can leave but at any point over the next 2 years his new club faces the Broncos at any point he is ineligible to play that game as his contract still had time remaining. However, if the Broncos would be able to get fair and equal trade, he would be able to play in those games against the Broncos as they would not be disadvantaged in the course of the trade. 

While yes this will be hard to get accustomed to in the beginning, I feel that a move to a system like this is the only forward to creating a truly even competition where the talent can be distributed evenly across all current and future teams in the league. 

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