The NRL’s player movement system has to change, but can it actually be fixed?

Steve Mascord Columnist

85 Have your say

    This column pretty much has to be about Angus Crichton moving from South Sydney to Sydney Roosters, doesn’t it?

    I’ve had a look around for other topics. There’s some interesting stuff going on in England, with RFL chief executive Nigel Wood saying four North American franchises have now shown interest in joining their competition.

    Nigel has also done his best to downplay the clubs taking over Super League and removing him from the board, saying the development is of “no consequence” and refusing to say if he is interested in the RLIF CEO’s post.

    He even chided a reporter for having the temerity to ask.

    But given that many commentators appear to be away for Christmas, the normal tsk-tsking over players changing clubs before a ball has been kicked in their final season with their current club is a bit thin on the ground.

    In fact, we seem to be relying on Waleed Aly for the required amount of indignation.

    “The constant rumours around player movement that meant no one seemed to care what was happening in the season in front of them and only cared about what was to come,” Aly said, quite reasonably, on Offsiders.

    Let me say something from the outset: I don’t follow an NRL club so this trend of guys announcing they will be at another team in 12 months does not personally offend me at all.

    I didn’t even care when Craig Wing and Gorden Tallis were paraded in their new colours eons in advance.

    So let’s go over all the standard suggested solutions.

    One, let’s have a trade period mid-season. Two, let’s have a trade period at the end of the year. Three, let’s publish all salaries. Four, let’s do away with third-party agreements.

    Even though I don’t particularly care when players switch clubs, I agree all these ideas are better than what we have now.

    Angus Crichton

    (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

    Now let’s discuss why we don’t have these things.

    For one and two, it’s because players allegedly need time to change cities. I call BS on that. Angus Crichton will hardly use any more petrol moving from one training venue to another, let alone have to involve a removalist.

    These guys can be called into a rep team at an hour’s notice, and they’re paid beyond the wildest dreams of their predecessors – the ‘inconvenience’ argument no longer holds water.

    Let them change clubs at the end of the season.

    For three, it’s considered ‘unAustralian’ to publish salaries. Sorry, I call BS on that too. Other businesses don’t rely on the marketplace believing in parity between their different franchises – sport does. Publish the salaries.

    And before you say ‘why don’t you publish yours’ – sure. In 2015-16 I earned $94,711.22 before tax. Haven’t done this year’s return yet.

    Four, the argument against getting rid of TPAs is that there is money that would escape the game completely if they didn’t exist.

    Fine, let the money go.

    The game needs more money but the NRL doesn’t. The bush needs more money. Grassroots need more money. International footy needs more money. The English game needs more money.

    But if it means making the comp uneven, the NRL does not need more money. Let the providers who cough up for TPAs go to rugby union or soccer. Whatever.

    These are the same old solutions for the same old problems. But the reasons for not employing the solutions are disappearing.

    What won’t disappear is distrust and suspicion.

    Just as I can leave something out of my stated salary if I want to, the measures above won’t stop the social media references to brown paper bags.

    If we know – rather than suspect – Angus Crichton turned down more money from Souths to join the Roosters, will trust in the system really be upheld/restored?

    Things can be improved. I’m not sure they can be fixed.

    Steve Mascord
    Steve Mascord

    Steve Mascord has covered rugby league in 15 countries and worked for most media organisations that regularly feature the sport, on both sides of the globe. He started off as an 18-year-old cadet at Australian Associated Press, transferring to the Sydney Morning Herald just in time to go on the last full Kangaroos Tour in 1994. He spent three years at Sydney's Daily Telegraph from 2006 before going freelance at the conclusion of the 2008 World Cup. Steve is the author of the book Touchstones, host of the White Line Fever podcast, partner in international rugby league merchandise start-up Mascord Brownz, and proprietor of rugbyleaguehub.com, hardrockhub.com and hotmetalonline.com. He is married to Sarah and splits his time between London and Sydney.

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    The Crowd Says (85)

    • Roar Guru

      December 20th 2017 @ 6:32am
      The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 6:32am | ! Report

      Is the Crichton thing really that big a deal?

      All clubs do it. It’s swings and roundabouts. Fans complain bitterly when they lose one of their favourites but cheer wildly when they sneak a star away from another club.

      If we accept that these are professional athletes whose careers and reputations live and die by their performances regardless of where they’ve signed next year we’d be all the better. But we approach it from the wrong paradigm. We expect players to mirror our passion for our clubs. It’s great when they do but it’s not necessary.

      It would be an interesting exercise to see how many players in the comp are playing for the club they supported as kids. Josh Reynolds is one of the most passionate Bulldogs ever to wear the blue and white, a local junior, a club legend. A roosters fan when he was a kid.

      Transfer windows do nothing to stop the rumours. It’s the constant scuttlebut that is more destructive than the actual signing. Now that Crichton has signed for the Roosters the story will be put to bed. If the deal wasn’t allowed to be announced until the end of the 2018 season, the rumours would continue to fester relentlessly for another 10 months. That’s far worse for the game than having it done and dusted early.

      Anyone who thinks you can effectively apply a deadline or stop players and clubs negotiating until a certain date clearly doesn’t remember the June 30 deadline.

      As for TPAs. Something needs to be done because again, it’s the constant rumours and whining that’s damaging the game, more so than the actual TPAs. Are there any examples of major sports that publish players actual earnings, including sponsorship deals?

      But the actual solution is so much harder. We can’t just scrap them. That means JT can’t be sponsored by Gatorade, Slater by Nike, etc. We’re limiting the profile and the earning potential of our stars. Can you imagine the NBA not “letting” Jordan be sponsored by Nike?

      Equally I don’t think including TPAs under the cap is fair either. If Taumalolo is signed by the Cowboys for $1M a season but then at the start of year 2 of that contract jags a million dollar third party sponsorship, the Cowboys then have to count him in their cap as a $2M player for an arrangement they had nothing to do with. It’s literally unmanageable.

      I think a lot of the complaining about TPAs is smoke and mirrors. A lot of airtime is given to the Roosters so-called advantages in securing TPAs. But other than the fact that they employ people with enough business smarts and contacts to be able to organise TPA introductions for their players I’m yet to hear anyone successfully articulate what inherent advantages the Roosters actually have. I’m not a Roosters fan.

      • Roar Guru

        December 20th 2017 @ 7:12am
        eagleJack said | December 20th 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

        Agree with your comment in its entirety TB.

        But on your last point I think that’s where the problem lies. “But other than the fact that they employ people with enough business smarts and contacts to be able to organise TPA introductions for their players I’m yet to hear anyone successfully articulate what inherent advantages the Roosters actually have”.

        Clubs cannot organise or introduce third parties for players. It’s a massive grey area. And what sees Manly in its current plight. Are you really going to tell me that every TPA approaches a club of their own free will? That’s what we are meant to believe. And it’s complete BS.

        I think TPAs should be published. Name what each player gets and from whom. Or at the very least let clubs organise TPAs themselves. It happens now. So remove the grey area. People will say “well that will then advantage teams with big corporate backing like the Roosters and Broncos”. And to that I say how is that any different from now? All it will reduce is some creative administrative work.

        • Roar Guru

          December 20th 2017 @ 7:55am
          The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

          Hi eJ

          Clubs can introduce TPAs to players. They can’t be club sponsors, the club can’t broker the deal and the club can’t guarantee the amount.

          It’s why I don’t understand the complaining about the Roosters.

          Surely this is an important enough area of the game so that all clubs would be appointing a highly paid, successful business person with high profile contacts who can source potential third party sponsors? It wouldn’t be that hard to have a little black book by the phone with a list of contacts and how much they would be willing to sponsor a player.

          Negotiations start with a player. Clubs TPA manager makes a few calls. “We’ve potentially got so and so signing with us would you be interested in sponsoring him? Yep. Beauty, I’ll introduce you to his manager”

          All pretty simple, perfectly legal and should be near the top of every club’s priority list.

          • December 20th 2017 @ 9:14am
            Gray-Hand said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

            The problem is that it beggars belief that clubs only make an introduction.
            It is obvious that prior to any introduction being made, the clubs will have found out how much a player wants and how much the sponsor is willing to pay. The process would be a complete shambles otherwise.

            A better way to manage the salary cap is to have a soft cap at a set amount. Anything a club spends on players beyond that amount gets taxed at a rate of 50% and put into a pool to fund the poor clubs.

            The best players will still get paid more, and any club can spend advantage much as it wants on players without leaving the poor clubs behind.

            • Roar Rookie

              December 20th 2017 @ 9:17am
              At work said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

              A soft cap wouldn’t be a bad idea Gray-Hand, that way clubs who are successful and rich aren’t held back by the poorer clubs, but they get taxed and that money can go towards other funding operations such as additional marketing, grass roots, etc

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 9:42am
              The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

              But I don’t think there’s even anything wrong with that GH.

              A company gets in touch with a club and says I want to sponsor a player, I’ve got around 150K to spend.

              Goes in the little black book.

              When the club is trying to sign a player and the TPA comes up the clubs knows they’ve got someone in the 150K range and they can make the introduction.

              But the sponsor may not necessarily want to pick up the player. The 150K may be for a cleanskin international rather than a player that’s been in strife or a rookie.

              But the thing is all clubs have the opportunity to do this. I don’t understand the concept of the salary cap being inherently unfair because some clubs do it well and others don’t.

            • December 20th 2017 @ 10:20am
              BA Sports said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

              I like the idea in principle of the soft cap and getting “taxed” extra for going over the cap.

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 11:01am
                Dogs Of War said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                I’m not sure a NBA style mega team of players is the way to go.

        • December 20th 2017 @ 8:55am
          mushi said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

          If you do that money will flow out of the game as an endorsement from Athlete X isn’t worth as much if there’s basically a blaring fog horn of what he was paid to give the endorsement. Many multinationals will have boil;er plate non disclosure clauses that I’m not sure they’ll renegotiate for an NRL player.

          I know Mascord is indifferent towards this but it’s not exactly the obvious way to run a commercial enterprise.

        • December 20th 2017 @ 9:48pm
          Cole said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

          “And to that I say how is that any different from now?” Exactly. Making this league a level playing field is near impossible but making it transparent is relatively straightforward.

      • December 20th 2017 @ 8:11am
        Train Without A Station said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        Really good comment

      • Roar Guru

        December 20th 2017 @ 9:40am
        Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        A lot of airtime is given to the Roosters so-called advantages in securing TPAs. But other than the fact that they employ people with enough business smarts and contacts to be able to organise TPA introductions for their players I’m yet to hear anyone successfully articulate what inherent advantages the Roosters actually have. I’m not a Roosters fan.

        A couple of things Baz –

        Firstly, there are rules that a) prevent clubs from guaranteeing third party agreements (which is where the Storm were caught) and b) limit the amount of TPA’s that a club can organise on behalf of a player.

        The strong (STRONG) suspicion is that the Roosters are flaunting the second of these – ie: they have access to wealthy benefactors who are willing to help them sign players. The problem is that any connection is very difficult to prove. Arrangements can be made in person or over the phone and the NRL certainly doesn’t have the right to be recording personal conversations.

        The other significant area of concern is player managers, who are more or less completely unregulated. There are all sorts of stories going around about certain clubs paying player managers directly to steer star players to their club. Again, given the lack of regulation, these activities are incredibly hard to prove.

        Secondly, the current rules have significant concessions for TPAs but next to no concessions for developing junior players. This means that the clubs with low junior bases but access to TPAs are able to effectively outsource their junior development to other clubs, who put significant amounts of time and money into the practice.

        It’s plainly out of kilter at the moment.

        • Roar Guru

          December 20th 2017 @ 10:09am
          The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

          Fair points Will.

          The only thing I’d come back to is everyone has access to TPAs. Some clubs have junior bases and access to TPAs, it’s not one or the other.

          There’s advantages to having larger junior bases.

          The salary cap and TPA starts square for every club. The junior areas aren’t remotely fair, yet there’s always more clamour to even up the cap and the TPAs than there are to even up the junior allocations.

          As for the Roosters, I’m certainly no fan. I can sit here and make up a reasonable list of player salaries based on their 2018 roster that puts them well over the cap. But likewise I can do it and come up with fair and reasonable salaries that put them under. Yes, they’ve got big names but their squad gets pretty skinny pretty quickly. I reckon they’ve got at least 12 players that would be on the minimum salary.

          We’re all guessing but either way I don’t think their squad is a lay down misere to be massively over the cap as all these unfounded rumours seem to suggest.

          Maybe publishing salaries is the answer. I wouldn’t like it if I were a player. To be honest I think it will just cause a whole new set of gripes.

          • Roar Guru

            December 20th 2017 @ 10:46am
            Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

            All good points mate (and we have had this conversation before too!).

            I don’t think player salaries need to be publicly disclosed, but I DO think players need to make their tax returns and financial records available to the NRL auditor.

            I believe this was proposed by the NRL in the recent CBA negotiations but opposed by the players union (headed by, ironically enough, Cameron Smith).

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 11:05am
              Nat said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

              That is probably the one point I would agree with to be rid of potential betting company influences As long as the total remains private and they are accountable for what they earn via ATO. Obviously there are many ways around it (brown paper bags) but if your assets are being paid by what you earn and living standards drawn from known accounts, no issue.

              • December 20th 2017 @ 11:43am
                Mushi said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

                You’d want a hefty indemnity from the NRL on the privacy but outside of that I’d be okay with tax returns.

                Financial records I’m a bit meh. Is the NRL really going to conduct a forensic audit of every player? What would the cost of that be?

          • December 20th 2017 @ 12:24pm
            AnD said | December 20th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

            While every club has access to TPA’s, it is very clear that not all clubs are equal when it comes to being able to access them. Markets like Sydney and Brisbane clearly can produce more money for TPA’s than Newcastle or Canberra. While Canberra and Penrith are very capable of producing large sums of money from their clubs, they’re unable to reinvest that in their playing squad. Why should they be disadvantaged that the Roosters/Broncos have better 3rd part business contacts while they’re producing more than enough money to pay players extra in-house?
            TPA’s are clearly not square. Particularly when you factor in there’s only one Brisbane side while other markets are much more congested. If we are going to insist on TPA’s, how can we insist it’s a fair and equitable system when we don’t know how much each player’s getting? Surely that’s the first step to at least saying this is the fairest system we have available?

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 4:05pm
              The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

              But do the Knights and Raiders have difficulty accessing TPAs because of where they are to because of how they’re going? I know the two can’t be intertwined but…

              Do you think the Knights would have had trouble attracting TPA sponsors when they had Johns, Buderus, Gidley, Kennedy, Harrigan, O’Davis, Hughes, Tahu, etc?

              Would the Raiders have struggled when they had Daley, Meninga, Clyde, Stuart, etc?

              The Cowboys are a remote regional side but they don’t seem to have problems signing and retaining players. Why can they do it but the Knights and Raiders can’t?

              It was only a couple of years ago that Bennett was getting bagged in Newcastle for signing too many players and not looking after the local juniors. There was clearly no problem attracting TPAs then. So it was either due to Bennett’s presence or Tinkler’s contacts but either way it’s evidence that the location issue is nowhere near insurmountable. I’d also suggest the dearth of opportunity in Newcastle since has nothing to do with their location but the after effects of Tinkler’s financial crash and the fact they’ve been battling.

              I read earlier this year (and can’t find it now for the life of me) Ricky Stuart say that after a top 4 finish and being among the premiership favourites that it was already starting to get easier to attract TPAs. Have they had trouble getting TPAs because they’re in Canberra or because their star players have been rat bags, they’ve been stunningly inconsistent and have worked their way through multiple coaches?

              So i get a lot of the above is a chicken and an egg situation and it makes it hard to get off the bottom of the ladder. But neither the Knights over most of the last 5-10 years or the Raiders over the past 20 years have been particularly well run clubs that would attract sponsors. At all.

              The Knights and Raiders also have massive junior nurseries that Sydney clubs don’t have. There are massive advantages to that when it comes to identifying and retaining talent.

              So it’s convenient to blame the TPAs but there’s much more to it than that.

              Away from the regional clubs, it still doesn’t explain why the Roosters have an advantage over the other Sydney clubs who all compete in the same market, other than they do it better.

    • December 20th 2017 @ 7:23am
      Brendon said | December 20th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

      I don’t get the issue with the TPA’s. If a player is good enough, regardless of which club he plays for, he will get TPA’s, its a marketing arrangement, its got nothing to do with player location. JT plys for one of the most remote teams in the league, yet he would have to be one of the most marketed players in the game (and rightfully so).

      Benji Marshall was the same 5 years ago, in saturated Sydney, he was everywhere because he was everything. Its not about the club or the city, its about the skill level.

      And they certainly shouldn’t be counted under salary caps, etc. Why should Billy Slater be paid less by the Storm because he works with Powerade? Do the Storm benefit? Its essentially a different job, outside of the NRL.

      100% on publishing player salaries. If I can tell you Lebron James is on $31 million over the next 5 years (man, I wish I was a better basketball player) why can’t I tell you what Cooper Cronk signed for at the Rooster. It solves so many problems of disparity between clubs, and in reality, has no negative impact on players, aside from maybe causing some internal strife over who earns more. But I’m sorry, there is no way Crichton should be on the same contract as Cronk….

      • Roar Guru

        December 20th 2017 @ 8:03am
        The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

        Hi Brendan

        An interesting thing about Marshall is that when he left the Dragons and was struggling to get a deal, he approached the NRL and said I’ve got 500k of TPAs, I’m only after a minimum contract so I can get a game, will you register me on a minimum contract, which they approved enabling him to sign with the Broncs.

        I think that’s an example of TPAs actually working well for the game and stopping a player with something to offer from heading overseas or playing rugby or retiring.

        • December 20th 2017 @ 8:55am
          AlisterS said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

          All fair points but I don’t think anyone was going to pay too much for Benji to go to rugby after his stint with the Auckland Blues. A shame really as I had hoped he would succeed in that but it does go to show that these are two very different games and apart from outside backs and some very very talented and dedicated individuals (Thorn & SBW & Ray Price) its a rare thing to be able to switch and do equally as well as you did in your “natural” or “original” code.

          • Roar Guru

            December 20th 2017 @ 9:02am
            The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

            Fair enough…take rugby out of the equation and he would have had to retire or go to the UK.

            My point though is this is an example of the much maligned TPAs actually working for the game.

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 9:39am
              Nat said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

              Spot on TB, as well as drawing players back to the game like GAZ and SBW.

      • December 20th 2017 @ 10:42am
        astro said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        Well if Lebron’s $31 million salary is impressive, consider his equivalent of a TPA with Nike. The details have never been released, but its a lifetime contract estimated at $1 billion.

        • December 21st 2017 @ 7:33am
          mushi said | December 21st 2017 @ 7:33am | ! Report

          And apparently originally had escalators if he played for specific teams.

          you’d have NRL fans storming the gates at Moore Park over such a ridiculous display of commericalism

    • December 20th 2017 @ 7:28am
      Josh said | December 20th 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      The best starting point is to publish salaries both through the cap abd through registered tpas. As a minimum though each tpa and the company/persin it is from shoukd be published along with the player recieving it. As this is a sponsorship that the player is promoting the compnay this should actually help both the player and the company by garnering more publicity for that company and the money they have played. Hiw could anyone object to that.

      • December 20th 2017 @ 8:44am
        mushi said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        You really think that publicising the exact amount that Player A gets paid for appearing at an event or represents a brand that will be helpful for building the target market’s emotional attachment to the event/brand?

    • December 20th 2017 @ 8:31am
      Rilo said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      It is crazy that we have a salary cap but salaries are secret. Publish the salaries then the players cannot plead ignorance when a club gets done.

      • Roar Guru

        December 20th 2017 @ 8:56am
        The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        They’re not secret, they’re just not released to the public. There’s a big difference.

      • Roar Guru

        December 20th 2017 @ 9:09am
        Dogs Of War said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Publishing the salaries has to happen. Look to US Sports. It gives supporters of a club a better idea of where there club is at salary cap wise. How well the clubs administration is doing, what the club is up against in improving the team.

        The TPA’s on the other hand, they are a non-event. If a player is able to get those, great. But when it goes balls up, that is the players problem, not the clubs. Players should be seen to want to get those guaranteed contractual payments under the salary cap. Publishing salaries encourages players to want that illusion that are getting paid fairly to be seen.

        Not to mention it would stop a lot of the innuendo about what player X is earning.

        • Roar Guru

          December 20th 2017 @ 9:51am
          Nat said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          Fair enough but just as the coach is answerable to the board, the board are answerable to the members and the NRL for mismanagement and/or success. Publishing cap salaries is just fodder for those who don’t believe the player is worth it or a target for others who can offer more. I use Gower at Parra this year, great buy for the perceived contract worth, however, if he was on JT13 money, the fans would expect more. Like anything in life, the value of something is what someone is willing to pay and while interesting, it’s none of our business.

          • Roar Guru

            December 20th 2017 @ 10:07am
            Dogs Of War said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

            Well it is our business. Because when you operate something like a salary cap. Have the innuendo about how club X is able to afford player Y, publishing salaries shows how some clubs are able to secure players at a lower rate.

            Using the NFL as an example. The New England Patriots are able to secure some players at lower rates than other clubs. Why? Because they are constantly successful due to a great coach/QB. But on the other side, that innuendo about rorting salary caps doesn’t exist in that game, because everything is transparent on that side. While you look at other clubs who have to pay overs to get those key players due to location or lack of success of the organisation.

            I’d prefer the supporters and media of the game to be talking about the game, rather than how club x is able to afford player Y. It’s not like players are semi pro anymore. It’s one of those things that players will have to accept especially when being paid the big bucks they are these days.

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 10:46am
              The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              But do you think publishing salaries will stop people complaining of rorts?

              Say the Roosters, like the Patriots sign players for unders because they want to be part of a successful system, are fans going to believe the published amount or will we have the same old commentary about Uncle Nick and brown paper bags under the table.

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 11:08am
                Dogs Of War said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                It’s a lot more open at least and some star players will want there published salary to be in the vicinity of the best players in there position. Vanity is a powerful thing.

                It’s also one of those things that caused the Bulldogs and Fifita to fall out in the deal. Just not enough guaranteed money in the salary cap. So TPA’s play a powerful part in everything. But I think you will find more players will do a Fififta so they don’t look like they are rorting the system.

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 3:29pm
                Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2017 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                Maybe Baz – but at least being able to review tax returns for any undisclosed income would give the NRL some confidence that they are being thorough.

                After all, it’s easy to lie to the NRL, but a crime to lie to the ATO… and if the NRL finds out you’ve been receiving cash payments it’s a slap on the wrist, but if the ATO finds out…

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 4:09pm
                The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                But what undisclosed income that they haven’t declared to the NRL would the players and their managers be declaring to the ATO?

                If we’re talking brown paper bags and boats then it won’t make a squirt of difference.

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 5:30pm
                Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2017 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

                You could be right mate, but there is no reason not to introduce another level of governance.

                There could literally be anything in there.

                I can’t talk about it publicly, but I’ve worked as an accountant in Sydney and Brissy long enough to have seen a few NRL sponsors / players… and if you ever buy me a beer I can tell you a few stories!

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 7:06pm
                The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

                I’d love the chance to buy you several some day.

                It might read like it but I’m not suggesting the system is perfect and I’m not naive enough to think players / clubs / managers / sponsors / ball boys aren’t rorting the system.

                If people want to scam the system they’ll find a way.

                Getting rid of TPAs doesn’t stop brown paper bags or boats.

                I don’t think public disclosure addresses any of these issues other than sating our curiosity.

                I don’t think Angus Crichton leaving Souths is evidence the transfer system is busted.

                And I don’t think because the Roosters manage their TPAs better than most – at this point in time – means they will forever or that they should be scrapped.

    • December 20th 2017 @ 9:09am
      mushi said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      “Four, let’s do away with third-party agreements.”
      “… the argument against getting rid of TPAs is that there is money that would escape the game completely if they didn’t exist.”
      “… These are the same old solutions for the same old problems. But the reasons for not employing the solutions are disappearing.”

      Whilst I don’t see anything that you presented to suggest that rugby league has removed the need for the financial benefits, this has never really been the major impediment to the removal of TPA’s.

      The most obvious argument is that completely removing the ability to generate any income outside of your club is a restraint of trade that is so far beyond what is reasonable to protect the interests of the NRL that it would be a stain on Australia’s legal system if it were enforced.

      It’s also worth noting that we are the only sport I know of that has this as a burning issue. Now I think part of it is because there isn’t enough money in the game compared to other sports for the elite guys.

    • December 20th 2017 @ 9:11am
      Millsy said | December 20th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      Publish TPAs as a whole of clubs roster that would be more interesting.

      • December 20th 2017 @ 10:19am
        BA Sports said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        As Mushi has pointed out, Companies who have investors and shareholders may not want to disclose to the broader public what they are giving an NRL player.

        I don’t mind the concept of publishing salaries that go under the Cap, but it would have to be released by the NRL – IF clubs were responsible, you would still have the same people saying player x was getting paid extra outside his contracted amount.

        • Roar Guru

          December 20th 2017 @ 10:41am
          The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          Great point. When we see conspiracy theories and rorts everywhere, who’s going to believe the published salaries anyway…

          • Roar Guru

            December 20th 2017 @ 11:12am
            Dogs Of War said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

            The TPA’s aren’t guaranteed under the salary cap. So if there is a fall out in that contractual arrangement, it’s then up to the player to enforce it via the courts, and accept that sort of risk financially. You only get one career.

            • Roar Guru

              December 20th 2017 @ 11:36am
              The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

              I get that.

              But say the Roosters sign Cooper Cronk for a published figure of 800K and the Tigers come out and say we offered 1M, is every fan in the game going to say “well that’s fine” or go on about the usual Uncle Nicks brown paper bag theories?

              Cronk could have a TPA top up or want to sign for the Roosters because he wants to win a premiership in his last two years rather than help a club rebuild.

              I think it’s the rumour mongering that causes more problems than the cap itself and I don’t think publishing salaries stops it.

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 12:06pm
                Dogs Of War said | December 20th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                Publishing them certainly lessens the effect. You can then write articles on why Cronk rejected the higher offer from the Tigers, ask for his input into that. But when we speculate on what they may be earning, this hightens the effect of poor/rubbish journalism where the real issues around the game could be published instead.

                I love reading things in the US on the NFL like the MMQB with Peter King where they provide great insight into the game and it’s players. Why can’t the NRL get reporting like that other than a few people like Mascord who provide a lot more insight than most.

              • Roar Guru

                December 20th 2017 @ 4:11pm
                The Barry said | December 20th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

                I respect what you’re saying but you’re also being idealistic.

                If a player signs for one club for 200k less than he could of got elsewhere, you really think the media and fans are going to say that’s nice, let’s write about the reasons why, instead of muck raking and whining of rorts?

                That’s a massive cultural shift with not much incentive. I wish I was as positive and hopeful as that.

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