How would you spend your salary cap?

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    Paul Gallen is tackled by Queensland player Jonathon Thurston. AAP Image/Julian Smith

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    There has been a lot of talk about million-dollar players lately – especially now that the salary cap is set to reach $5.8 million.

    The reality is, the game’s top players are going to command six figure salaries very soon.

    But is it worth it to have a million-dollar player in your squad? What is the best way for an NRL club to disperse its salary cap?

    There’s no doubt Melbourne have been the benchmark of the competition in the last few years. Their strategy has been to build a team around three incredible talents, with the remainder of the cap taken up by much lower paid players.

    North Queensland are a different matter. They really only have one marquee player – Johnathan Thurston – meaning they have some wiggle room for a few higher quality players around him.

    They have the experienced and exciting Matt Bowen, to arguably the game’s best prop in Matt Scott.

    But even with those players around him, the buck still stops with JT in Townsville. The Cowboys success has been contingent on him for the last eight years. And when he negotiates his new contract for 2014, there’s a very good chance he’ll become the game’s first million-dollar player.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum is a team like St. George-Illawarra. During the Bennett years, the Dragons lacked any standout, marquee players.

    It’s hard to imagine anyone in that premiership-winning side on more than $400,000 a year.

    You can see these contrasting approaches in clubs currently in “rebuilding” phases, too.

    Penrith, for example have shunned the “marquee player” approach, off-loading bona fide NRL superstars in Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon in the past year.

    Meanwhile, they have been incredibly active in the player market, with around 20 new faces joining the club this season – and none of them likely to command a massive salary.

    Parramatta, another club attempting to rebuild, have taken the opposite approach. They’ve paid top dollar for the likes of Chris Sandow and Will Hopoate and were looking to fork out more for Israel Folau.

    Then there’s the rumoured contract negotiations of Jarryd Hayne – another potential million-dollar player.

    So my question is this: as we head into the future, which strategy do you think is going to yield the most success for NRL clubs?

    If you were in charge of a salary cap, would you gamble on one or two marquee signings, or disperse the dollars more evenly across the board?

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Guru

      February 3rd 2013 @ 5:48am
      peeeko said | February 3rd 2013 @ 5:48am | ! Report

      “how would you spend your salary cap?” answer – not like parramatta. not that i believe the telegraph but if they are spending 550k, 850k and 800k on sandow, hopoate and hayne then someone needs to be fired.
      true about what you said about Bennett and the Dragons- i think the highest player was Creagh on 350k.
      one advantage of not going for large marquees is that you dont have the injury risk that would occur if JT or one of the big melbourne three have

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 7:16am
      Andy said | February 3rd 2013 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      “What is the best way for an NRL club to disperse its salary cap?” On players with experience, who have played in grandfinals but never cracked origin/Australia or has not played rep footy for a while. In addition, poach the best junior talent and promise them starting positions. Then all you need to do is buy either a great coach from super league or a retired coach like Bob Fulton.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 8:17am
      Shane Flanagan said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      What’s a salary cap ????

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 8:48am
      Ronald M said | February 3rd 2013 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      I would do the exact opposite of the Cronulla ‘recruit mediocrity’ and bad boys strategy.

      I would look for good and great players who are perhaps not fully respected by their current clubs. I would look for very experienced proven playmakers who are considered a bit over the hill but still have the personal drive to achieve. I would look for great players who the press ignore and who never get the credit they deserve. These players would take up all my key positions.

      I would then fill the rest of the team with youngsters with lots of talent and energy probably on the brink of breaking into the NRL but just needing a break.

      All the players must have character, will, drive, ambition, a willingness to work hard and follow instructions and most of all personal integrity.

      All salaries would have a significant achievement element to them.

      I would then recruit the best coach that money could buy, the best facilities, the best trainers and the best phisios.

      Shane take note, I have just solved your problem for you but then you would never meet my coaching requirements would you.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 9:08am
      Patrick said | February 3rd 2013 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      Starting 17 in under 5 mill
      1. Josh Hoffman (285)
      2. Jorge Tafua (200)
      3. Konrad Hurrel (230)
      4. Jack Reed (250)
      5. Daniel Tupou (185)
      6. Michael Morgan (230)
      7. Chad Townsend (250)
      8. James Tamou (350)
      9. Mitch Rein (220)
      10. Ben Matulino (315)
      11. Tariq Sims (320)
      12. Ben Te’o (360)
      13. Dallas Johnson (380)

      14. Josh Reynolds (300)
      15. Andrew Fafita (280)
      16. Tim Grant (300)
      17. Josh Jackson (230)

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:27am
        Jake said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        Not a bad squad, I’d suggest you need to get better halves though.

        • Roar Guru

          February 3rd 2013 @ 1:28pm
          Adam Scroggy said | February 3rd 2013 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          It’s a great squad, but yeah I tend to agree about the halves… could Michael Morgan and Chad Townsend win you a grand final? It’s the big matches when you need champions to step up.

          Mind you, as someone pointed out, there just aren’t that many champion halves in the game at the moment, and some of these young blokes will have to step up eventually. I think Morgan and Townsend are both just 21 years old, so who knows — maybe clubs do need to take a gamble on a couple of young blokes in those key positions and hope they develop into future superstars.

          Of course, when they do, then they’re going to be receiving $1 million contract offers too… and the cycle continues…

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:03am
      Pot Stirrer said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

      Id spend it like the Broncos,They seem good with numbers, they have been in the top eaight nearly every season supply on average 6 or 7 SOO players every year
      and never been mentioned as having cap trouble.

      • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:25am
        Ian Whitchurch said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        Pot Stirrer,

        Part of that is the way the salary cap is rigged in their favour – you can stash unlimited numbers of juniors on contract but off your cap.

        Therefore, they can spend off-cap money on the replacements they bring into the team.

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