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?

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 10:28am
      Ian Whitchurch said | February 3rd 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Break the cap into three equal thirds.

      You spend one third on props – but you spread the money out, because you need two to play, two to be on the bench and two to be suspended. Six good props are way better than one superstar trying to carry five journeymen on his back.

      You spend one third on the halves and the fullback – you have to have elite ballplayers in the skill positions.

      The final third you split between the rest of the team.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 11:44am
        mushi said | February 7th 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

        I’d also say that you go 8 players at minimum salary (juniors) so the “rest” are going to average out to 170ish

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 11:22am
      oikee said | February 3rd 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      You really need to have a marquee player. What you spend on them is up to the club, but 1 million seems about right, depends on how good the player is,,,2 reasons for this, not only the player can lift your team, he also puts extra bums on seats.
      Look at the Roosters, classic examaple, if i lived in Sydney i would be a Roosters fan.
      SBW, Jennings, Maloney and a junior squad full of talent. Same as Parra, they also have Hoppa and Hayne, jury is still out on Sandow.

      The point is, there are not many superstars running around, finding one is like finding a hens tooth. I think clubs without star quality players will struggle, because fans, kids, mums dads and me, want to see the Barba’s, the Inglis’s and the Tariq Simms, of this world.

      The guy sitting over in England, Sam Tomkins, he should be the Dragons soul target, pay him 1 million a season, you not only pick up a bargain, you probably grow your fanbase and grow your chance of a tital.

      Not many good-uns around.
      Clubs also need to identify junior superstars, like Hoppa, Shreick and Hurrell, Johnson, Harry S,, Etc.

      • Roar Guru

        February 3rd 2013 @ 12:36pm
        peeeko said | February 3rd 2013 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        1mln on Sam Tompkins? Gee I’m glad you are not involved with my club

    • Roar Guru

      February 3rd 2013 @ 1:22pm
      The Barry said | February 3rd 2013 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      Two of your 9, 7 and 1 need to be stars and the other good to very good. eg Cowboys of recent years Bowen and Thurston stars, Payne good. You clearly can’t spend massive coin on all three.

      The Bulldogs have a good front row rotation in Tolman, Graham and Kasiano. Having three props that can rotate through the 160 minutes required would be ideal but probably unlikely to have to 60 min propsin the same squad so I would look for four props – one big bopper, one workhorse and two honest toilers – one of them a younger development player.

      One impact backrow to start and one from the bench. Two workers in the backrow capable of 80 mins if required. It would be a bonus if one of them could slot into the centres if required.

      Utility player on the bench that can cover dummy half.

      Solid 5/8 who can kick and play a support role to the 7.

      You need at least one talented “go to” centre in attack. Your other centre at least needs to be a good defender

      I wouldn’t spend any big money on wingers. I’d look to develop juniors and rotate them through in 2-3 year cycles.

    • Roar Guru

      February 3rd 2013 @ 2:36pm
      Bazzio said | February 3rd 2013 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

      Any salary cap increase could be put toward game incentive payments for 3 man-of-the-match awards each week in each of a Club’s teams in NRL, NSW Cup National Youth Competition, Jersey Flegg would inspire all players in all teams, for certain.

    • February 3rd 2013 @ 7:35pm
      Arthur fonzarelli. said | February 3rd 2013 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

      Melbournes successful strategy based on 3 outstanding players and the rest no names ?

      Not that long ago it was 5 outstanding players and lots of very good players and a few no names .

      Wonder what their cap strategy was then ?

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