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Perception is reality Todd, and your mob is on the nose with fans

Tim Gore Columnist

By Tim Gore, Tim Gore is a Roar Expert

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195 Have your say

    The NRL Integrity Unit’s prime duty is to investigate poor player behaviour. However, any cursory glance at social media will show you that lots of fans think the major integrity issues in the game emanate from those who are running it.

    Just the other day this meme appeared on The NRL Roast’s twitter feed:

    With the exception of Sydney Roosters fans, people found this playful depiction of Boyd Cordner – representing the Roosters as a whole – dodging the auditor, signing multiple million-dollar players, receiving under-the-counter payments and unlimited third-party deals quite amusing.

    Of course, being amusing doesn’t make it true.

    If you actually look at the comings and goings for the Roosters’ roster, the allegations of salary cap rorting don’t necessarily hold water. Sure, Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco are both $1 million-plus value players.

    However, the salary cap has increased to $9.4 million and the Tricolours have released Mitchell Pearce, Kane Evans, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jayden Nikorima, Aidan Guerra and Connor Watson. Angus Crichton doesn’t come onto their books until 2019.

    If you look at their list for this year, they’ve relying on Cronk instilling a Storm-like discipline and work ethic into the team, empowering their skinny depth to great heights, Tedesco doing a passable Billy Slater impression, with Jake Friend playing the role of Cam Smith-lite.

    But I digress from my actual point: this video accuses the Roosters of cheating.

    Of the multitude of tweets that responded to the meme, there were numerous allegations that the Roosters could get away with such rorting as Todd Greenberg is in the pocket of Nick Politis. A few even said Greenberg was a Roosters fan. Others asserted the NRL hierarchy was too inept to police the clubs.

    The big problem for Greenberg and his administration is the power of perception.

    That is a very bad thing when the overriding perception is that you are either corrupt, incompetent or both. There is a prevailing attitude among a huge number of fans that third-party agreements have created a chronically uneven playing field, where the have-nots are at the mercy of the haves, and that the CEO is doing nothing about it – and is possibly even okay with it.

    You could forgive a Wests Tigers fan for feeling bitter and bereft of hope having watched the Eels, Bulldogs and Roosters sign Mitchell Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco respectively. You could forgive them for feeling aggrieved with the leadership from Moore Park.

    I could understand families in Ingleburn, Minto or Macquarie Fields not renewing their membership in 2018. Fans need to feel like their club is getting a fair go, that they’ve got a chance and that the NRL shares their concerns.

    At present, the silence from NRL HQ is deafening in regards to such allegations raised in the above meme. As a result, any sort of fan confidence in a level playing field is at an all-time low.

    There are three very possible ramifications of this:

    1. Fans will get sick of wasting their emotion on lost causes, stop actively supporting their clubs and be drawn away to other sports
    2. Enough clubs will feel disenfranchised and another horrible schism in the league may occur; but most likely
    3. The undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the administration will become so large that the most expedient thing to do will be to roll heads to appease the discontent.

    Todd Greenberg

    Todd Greenberg at the launch of the NRL Bunker. (The Roar)

    If Greenberg and his crew want to avoid losing their lucrative positions, there are three things they should do immediately to get the fans back on side.

    1. Release the aggregate values of third-party agreements for each club
    No specifics, just the overall amounts. Hopefully these figures will dispel the perception that TPAs have created an uneven playing field. If they don’t, then Greenberg needs to fix the system – and to be seen fixing it.

    2. Greatly increase the scope and independence of salary cap auditing
    Put someone, who is clearly independent and beyond reproach, in charge of auditing clubs’ salary spending. Also, increase the reach of the auditing itself to close more loopholes.

    3. Become more transparent and visible
    Greenberg needs to engage more with the public about the issues facing the game and what he is doing about them. He needs to be seen as the fans’ representative, working to ensure that they feel they are being treated well.

    Whoever orchestrated the handing out of tickets to the 2017 NRL grand final to junior players did an excellent job in heading down that pathway. The reduction in the cost of State of Origin tickets and pre-sale to club members was also a great move.

    Ultimately, the NRL will be successful if it puts bums on seats at the ground and in front of the telly. To do that, Greenberg and his posse must have at the forefront of their minds that the most important stakeholders are not the suited men in boardrooms but the fans.

    The men in suits are only interested because of the money those fans have to spend. The suits want those fans to spend that money in the places where it most benefits them and their boardrooms. If those fans dwindle, so will the suited men. They’ll be off to wherever those fans and their money have gone.

    Fans just love their teams. Often their team, and the feeling of belonging to something bigger that they get from it, is the most important thing in their lives.

    Todd Greenberg’s number one job is to keep that at the forefront of his mind and strive to make every fan feel that their club is getting a fair go.

    He’d better get busy, because right now there’s a perception that NRL HQ cares little for the everyday fan.

    And if the Bastille could be stormed, so can Moore Park.

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (195)

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2018 @ 7:37am
      The Barry said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Happy new year Tim.

      The NRL is on a hiding to nothing if they try and respond to every rumour and complaint that appears on social media.

      The Roosters salary cap sombrero has been the big off season gripe. But as you’ve intimated it’s mostly sour grapes from jealous fans from other clubs. I wrote an article on it recently if you’re interested.

      The NRL is not a level playing field. Junior catchment areas are not the same, facilities are not the same, staff are not the same, grounds are not the same, membership numbers are not the same, ownership models are not the same. Yet it seems everyone expects sponsorships to be the same.

      If I was a third party sponsor, I’d be far more likely to align with players from a professionally run club like the Roosters than I would with some of the slipshod organisations around. Nothing to do with unfair advantage.

      Tigers fans shouldn’t be angry with the NRL. They should be angry at the inept management that has seen their three best players, local juniors to boot, not to be able to stand the thought of staying at the club.

      The Tigers didn’t lose Woods, Moses and Tedesco because of money. Their offers were in line with what other clubs offered and they’ve subsequently signed players for the sort of money their three were asking.

      The Bulldogs have lost Graham and Reynolds who meant more to our club than the often maligned Tigers players. If you want evidence look at the respect Reynolds and Graham have been afforded by Bulldogs fans versus the public bagging Woods and Moses copped from Tigers fans.

      Yet there’s no thoughts that Bulldogs fans would hand in their memberships and spit the dummy. The reason why is the Tigers are one of a few clubs that are perpetual victims.

      How many times do we hear about their injury crises and their players being ‘stolen’ and how hard it is for them to attract third party sponsors?

      Yet they have two supporter bases, heaps of fans, a massive junior nursery. They got eight million bucks from the NRL (that they blew). High profile supporters, rich backers, two leagues clubs behind them. They’ve got plenty going for them but all we hear is moaning about how the whole comp is set up to keep them down, what advantages other clubs have and what are the NRL going to do to help them.

      That’s the attitude that needs to change. While I’ve singled out the Tigers, there’s plenty of clubs like them.

      Releasing TPA amounts will fuel the fire not quell it…

      • January 19th 2018 @ 8:00am
        KingCowboy said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        Wow, that is one of the best comments I have ever read on the Roar. Nothing to add but to just say well done!

      • January 19th 2018 @ 8:08am
        jamesb said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        Superb post The Barry.

        We need all clubs to improve off the field. Stop having the victim mentality and just get on with it.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 8:32am
        Greg said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        It’s a catch 22 – more money from sponsorships = more money for the club = more money to spend on professional people to run the club. Less money from sponsorships = less money to hire outstanding people to run the club = a less professional club.

        What I’d like to see is equal opportunity with free to air coverage. There are three FTA games a week which means six teams get a run. There are 16 teams in the comp so over a 3 week period EVERY team should get at least one game on FTA, with two more slots for the ‘favourites’ ie Broncos. That would help spread the sponsorship money around and hence help the poorer teams rather than the rich getting richer.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 2:58pm
          Mushi said | January 19th 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

          But that means less money for all clubs. So let’s commence a race to the bottom.

          No other comp I follow in world sports has this issue which makes me think this is an “us” (the “fans”) issue than a “them” issue.

          Leaving aside the obvious legal impediment.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 9:26pm
            Az said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

            Sweet open the flood gates, considering the Raiders group is very well off financially let hit hit it!

            Oh I can’t wait to see the calls to cap it again ?

          • January 23rd 2018 @ 10:25am
            Pete said | January 23rd 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            Most other codes have drafts, which offset most of this issue, or are full of clubs with a 100/1 shot of winning every year.

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2018 @ 8:40am
        Emcie said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        I think people forget how much the tigers board did to sabotage their attempts at retaining those players. During the negotiations it was heavily implied through club releases that the players were after more money. The Tigers then sack the coach a couple games into the season and bring in an intrim coach. Rumors originating from the club then imply there was a player revolt against the coach. Woods (the team captain) felt the need to clear his name and clarify that he didn’t want to sign until he knew who was going to be coach next season, basically wanting a guarantee of some club stability not the removal of the coach. It shouldn’t be that surprising that players weren’t tripping over themselves to stay, Moses didn’t just want out, he wanted out immediately.

        Is it just me, or do the clubs with the most fractured boards seem to have the most leaks and rumors circling them? In any case, the Tigers situation is a poor example to rely on to make a point about how the NRL administration is poorly percieved

        • January 19th 2018 @ 9:08am
          Justin Kearney said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          I am in awe of the Barry. Brilliant post.

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 9:32am
            Sleiman Azizi said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            One of a handful of great posters on this forum.

      • Columnist

        January 19th 2018 @ 10:13am
        Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        Great article, great comment!
        The Wests Tigers issue is just one point here. Yes they are dysfunctional.
        The major point is that perception becomes reality to punters. The perception needs to be countered – I hope I helped that process by examining the Roosters comings and goings.
        But the NRL isn’t doing it. And this isn’t just any allegation. I agree that they cant respond to every thing they are accused of. However, this is the big ticket item.
        This issue cuts to heart of the game and how it is regarded.

        And here’s the thing: if releasing the aggregate TPA amounts will fuel the fire and not quell it, then the system is broken.

        Again, the money men are only interested in the game because of the bums on seats. Those bums – mostly – just want a fair go.
        I’m sure Todd can achieve that.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:30am
          Greg said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

          It’s not just a case of who’s in and who’s out when looking at a salary cap, you also need to look at who stayed. Blake Ferguson has played for Australia since he signed his last contract, do you think when he re-signed last year he would have signed for the same money? He would have most likely been signed on an upgraded contract. Dylan Napa became an Origin player last year, hard to think that he didn’t earn a massive contract upgrade as well when he re-signed last year with other clubs chasing him.

          • Columnist

            January 19th 2018 @ 10:41am
            Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

            My understanding is that Blake didn’t have any other suitors and his value went down.
            Pearce and Guerra would have been on good money.
            The offers for Evans were bigger than they could match. They wanted to keep Watson.
            Look, I’m not a huge fan of the Roosters but I don’t think these accusations hold much water.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 11:37am
          Nat said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          Hi Tim,
          Good article and welcome back.
          You more than most understand that professional league is a business. I don’t understand why you are trashing the “suits” for their role in the business. The most successful clubs are run by business people while those run are ex-players have proven their worth. An educated person can be as passionate about their club as a labourer except one has the knowledge to promote the product far better than the other. Only a good product sells and the suit has put in the work to make the game the commercial success it is today.

          • Columnist

            January 19th 2018 @ 12:46pm
            Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            Not back yet Nat.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 11:45am
          The Barry said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          No such thing as a fair go.

          Tigers fans complain that TPAs are unfair
          Roosters fans complain that junior catchments are unfair
          Raiders fans complain (about many, many things? including) that FTA scheduling is unfair
          Manly fans complain the stadium policy and having to cross the harbour is unfair
          Warriors fans complain the travel is unfair
          Non-Broncos fans complain Friday night footy is unfair
          Broncos fans complain no Sunday footy is unfair
          Sydney teams complain that one team towns are unfair
          Everywhere else complains that Sydney is unfair
          Adelaide and Perth fans complain that having no team is unfair
          Storm fans complain

          There’s no way Todd Greenberg (or anyone) can guarantee the perception or otherwise of a “fair go”

          • Columnist

            January 19th 2018 @ 12:48pm
            Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

            But in the end it’s the cattle Baz.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 1:09pm
              KingCowboy said | January 19th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

              100% right TB. The problem is now everyone has a voice with the advent of social media. Everyone now has a platform. Some media outlets now have stories based on what is being said on social media. People just like to complain and it is only going to get worse!

              • Columnist

                January 19th 2018 @ 1:47pm
                Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                It’s the new world KC. The great unwashed now has a very public platform. It isn’t going to disappear. It needs to be dealt with. Doing nothing isn’t an option.
                And I don’t think every crank should be listened to by any means, but these accusations are so widespread and common they are almost de riguer. That situation can’t stand.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 19th 2018 @ 1:25pm
            Don said | January 19th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

            The other thing that people either don’t realise or just choose to ignore is; a player like Cooper Cronk can massively increase his off field income opportunities simply by moving to Sydney and being more readily accessible to media and sponsors.

            Then, also by being the highest profile player in a club with strong corporate support he sees a larger slice of potential sponsorship offers rather than competing with Smith and Slater for fewer opportunities.

            I doubt the Roosters are actually paying Cronk as much out of their salary cap as he was being directly paid in Melbourne. But when his personal deals now he is in Sydney at the Roosters are added, he will be on significantly higher coin overall.
            And I also imagine that Cronk actually isn’t costing the Roosters as much as Mitchell Pearce was.

            There is a well used strategy among strong clubs where they target high profile “clean skin” corporate friendly players who can attract their own sponsors and fund a chunk of their salary with 3rd party sponsorships.

            In reality, a guy like Cameron Smith can and probably does take up less of Melbourne’s salary cap than Mitchell Pearce represents of Newcastle’s spend.

            If you have a club where your best players are not media friendly, fan friendly and/or come with “baggage” then you have to pay them more out of the salary cap because quality sponsors won’t touch them.

            Notice that within the first year of Darius Boyd playing for the Broncos again they had him working harder on repairing media relations, had some positive articles out about him and did the whole redemption thing with a “bad boy comes good” series of interviews.

            Now sponsors see Boyd as a viable option to front their brands when they wouldn’t go near him 2 years ago. Those sponsorships mean Boyd costs the Broncos less.

          • January 20th 2018 @ 1:42pm
            Chris Wright said | January 20th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

            Dragons fans complain about Peter Doust.

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2018 @ 10:22am
        Nat said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Well said TB.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 12:12pm
          BigJ said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

          TB when you dont go on about me supporting five (not six) teams, you actually make alot of sense. Although one point, i have never heard Broncos fans that I know complain about not playing on a Sunday, i think you would find that they would start complaining if they did. Sunday in Brisbane is reversed for QCup games. Broncos games would take away the focus of that if they played on Sunday. Great comments though

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 3:08pm
            The Barry said | January 19th 2018 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

            A reversed Sunday sounds horrible…just like Monday. Ugh.

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 3:17pm
              BigJ said | January 19th 2018 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

              What do you mean horrible.?Sunday is for church and footynothing horrible about tha.

              • Roar Guru

                January 19th 2018 @ 10:48pm
                The Barry said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

                What’s the difference between a woman kneeling in church and a woman kneeling in a bathtub?

                A woman kneeling in church has hope on her soul…

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 5:22pm
              BigJ said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              Sunday is reversed for church and footy, nothing horrible about that.

              • Roar Guru

                January 19th 2018 @ 7:32pm
                Nat said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

                Is reserved the word you’re looking for mate? If Sunday was reversed we’d start the day at footy and finish up in chruch. Lucky for me Lang Park is my church.

            • January 20th 2018 @ 1:43pm
              Chris Wright said | January 20th 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

              I agree Barry 🙂

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 6:42pm
            Emcie said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

            broncos fans definately want more sunday games

      • January 19th 2018 @ 12:36pm
        matth said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Very well said.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 12:58pm
          BigJ said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Thanks mate.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 1:58pm
          BigJ said | January 19th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          Thanks mate

      • January 19th 2018 @ 4:32pm
        Mushi said | January 19th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

        Great post Barry.

        The whole level playing field argument is typically a self serving one. Leaving aside the legal aspects that roar “experts” have clearly surmounted in ground breaking cases they can’t discuss… it is also one that beggars belief because at what point do we stop “leveling”.

        Because the end game for a perfect level playing field is 8 coin flips a week and the Grand final winner is decided after 27 extra times by an unexpected gust of wind.

      • Columnist

        January 19th 2018 @ 8:03pm
        AJ Mithen said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

        Baz your preseason has been more than well spent.Well said.

      • January 21st 2018 @ 3:42pm
        1st&10 said | January 21st 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

        Who do you follow Barry?

        Rorters dodgy dealings have been happening since the 70s. Common knowledge in the league world.

        The admin is just one big ‘conflict of interest’. All the suits have their preferred team. Most suits at the NRL are recruited from clubland, thus the perceived conflict of interest that exists in the NRL building

        You are right, perception is important. Which clubs have their headquarters adjacent to the NRL?

        I no longer follow the game and returned my Dragons membership some years ago. Suits like Doust/Greenburg etc have ruined the game.

        It used to be about loyal/tribal fans watching all three grades on an afternoon. The club was there for its fans, not the fans being enslaved to the suits of a club and the league.

        Players used to respect fans and fans returned that respect. Now, they are more interested in cash and tattoos. I know of players feigning injury to their writing hand to avoid stopping and giving autographs.

        The game lost its integrity since the letters NRL emerged on the jerseys (since superleague)

    • Roar Rookie

      January 19th 2018 @ 8:01am
      the_bear said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      ^ like (@The Barry)

    • January 19th 2018 @ 8:03am
      jamesb said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      “You could forgive a Wests Tigers fan for feeling bitter and bereft of hope having watched the Eels, Bulldogs and Roosters sign Mitchell Moses, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco respectively”

      I think the Tigers have done alright on the player market for 2018. They have signed Josh Reynolds, Benji Marshall, Ben Matulino, Chris McQueen, Russell Packer, Robbie Rochow and Mahe Fonua.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 8:34am
        Not so super said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Wow, Tigers signed a bunch of 6/10 players

        • January 19th 2018 @ 9:16am
          jamesb said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          Towards the end, Woods and Moses were 4/10 players. Although Teddy is a big loss.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 9:16am
          Emcie said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          2 former origin players with Grand Final experience and a couple NZ internationals?

          • January 19th 2018 @ 10:31am
            Albo said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            Maybe some past experience there ! But these guys are mostly fringe or bench first graders these day ! Cleary will do very well to have the Tigers improve any on last season.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:05am
          RandyM said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          Matulino was being talked up as potentially the best prop in the world a few years ago, what happened to him?

    • January 19th 2018 @ 8:23am
      But said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      I used to be a league fan and watch all the games. If I didn’t support my team I wouldn’t watch it all these days. Everyone’s salary and TPAs should be public record. The players don’t want that but the fans do. So many people are disillusioned with rugby league at the moment and the biggest gripe is TPAs. We can sit here and say clubs need to be better managed but the reality is some clubs rosters are payed millions more then others some 4 rep players worth.Fans want to know their club has a chance of winning a comp within a decade but the status quo results in the same clubs year in year out at the top of the tree and TPAs are at the forefront.Does the NRL want to alienate or embrace fans, we’ll know by the way the TPA mess is resolved moving forward.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 8:39am
        jamesb said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        “Everyone’s salary and TPAs should be public record.”

        My view is that the salary cap should be scrapped and replace it with a points system. And there should be a monitoring mechanism in place to protect clubs from going broke.

        What the salary cap does do is cause more controversy to the game. A player can earn as much as they want. They shouldn’t be capped. It is a body contact sport where players have a short amount of time to earn money.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 9:28am
          Hanrahan said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          jamesb, how would your points system work? Might be better than the salary cap.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 9:39am
            jamesb said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            One day I will write an article on this site about a point system.

            • Columnist

              January 19th 2018 @ 10:46am
              Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Today is that day.
              Get on with it. Stop talking and write.
              Talk to your friends about your ideas to help get them straight in your mind.
              Write your arguments in dot points and then expand.
              Then read it aloud to edit. You find lots of grammar and flow issues that way.
              Then leave it for an hour and then come back and rewrite.
              Then send it past a good judge and ask for frank opinion.
              Don’t take their feedback too personally (that’s the hard bit for me)
              Make sure you make clear your point in your opening para.

              Keep it below 1000 words.
              Now get going.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 11:32am
                jamesb said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                I can’t today, I’m busy. But thanks for the advice. I’ll bookmark your comment Tim.

              • January 24th 2018 @ 3:10pm
                Ben said | January 24th 2018 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Have tier 1-10 players based subjectively on how they played the year before (rep honours, dally m points etc rookies are a 1 or 0((not sure if a 0 would help teams retain their own juniour stars or encourage poaching)) ) and have the tier ratings displayed publicly. Add these points collectively for each team and have a points cap. You can go over the cap if you are resigning players who improved, however cannot go over when signing a free agent.
                Example say the Roosters are 95/100 points (have not predetermined a realistic figure) and have to choose between Mitchell Pearce and Cooper Cronk. Mitchell Pearce being a 9, Cronk a 10. Because Roosters are resigning Pearce their score would legally go to 104, but would illegally go to 105 by improving with Cronk. To not sign Mitchell Pearce they would have to sign a player rated 5 or lower.
                **not thought out in any huge detail but I believe a system in similarity could hold merit**
                Of anything that has annoyed me with the concept of the salary cap is player improvement and development (mostly Melbourne) gets punished, where it should be celebrated. I absolutely despise Melbourne but they did not simply go out and buy their dominance during the salary scandal. They developed Inglis, Folau, Hoffman, Cronk, Smith, Slater etc and were retaining their own rights.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 4:37pm
              Mushi said | January 19th 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

              I hope it reads “points systems are pointless”

              Seriously how can anyone that has ever watched rugby-league think you can accurately and objectively assess the value of a player over the life of their contact.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:10am
          RandyM said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          I hate that argument. Greg Inglis will earn more money in his 12-14 year career than most people will in 40 years.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 19th 2018 @ 12:02pm
            Dave_S said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            As will most other people who are particularly successful in their field – accountants, lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, writers, singers, retailers … none of them will likely suffer accelerated arthritis, dementia etc as a result.

            • Roar Rookie

              January 19th 2018 @ 12:03pm
              Dave_S said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

              … that said, I am in favour of salary caps or some other system of keeping spending between teams at least roughly equal.

        • January 21st 2018 @ 3:47pm
          1st&10 said | January 21st 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          Without a salary cap, the league would only have about three teams that would survive . No salary cap is league suicide

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2018 @ 8:56am
        Emcie said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        The biggest problem with TPA’s is that most people don’t understand them and the NRL media would rather exploit the issue for clickbait then clarify it.

        Disclosing TPA’s (assuming you could get around the legal roadblocks) wouldn’t do much more then muddy the issue as it would still be down to interpretation anyway. Companies don’t offer sponsorships to the best players, they offer them to players with the most appeal. You’d be effectively judging the fairness of teams on field potencial based on money recieved for having the most popular twitter account or the most recognisable look.

        That being said, I’d love to see players acual salaries disclosed as it would remove a lot of the flat out guesswork that the media loves to promote.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 9:20am
          Gray-Hand said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

          That’s a good point.
          You can bet that say, Sam Thaiday, will be getting paid more money in TPAs than Matt Scott, even though Thaiday will probably play off the bench for a fair chunk of the season.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 19th 2018 @ 2:26pm
            Don said | January 19th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

            Yes. And even Sam Thaiday had to get his head around the TPA scheme when his last contract was negotiated.
            It was made public at the time that he would have to accept a pay cut in his Broncos salary and he and his manager generate more income via sponsorships if he wanted to stay.

            Now, given Sam would have fewer opportunities for any sponsorships unless he was either at the Broncos or perhaps the Cowboys (but at the Cowboys he’d be fighting Thurston for the same deals) he had to accept he needed the Broncos more than they needed him.

        • Roar Rookie

          January 19th 2018 @ 9:35am
          Joe said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

          Thats a very good point. I’d say Benji would still be a TPA magnet although his best years are way behind him. I think though this would be still be more exception rather than the rule and I still think Clubs are very much involved in getting TPAs and strong clubs have more than others.

          • Roar Rookie

            January 19th 2018 @ 2:54pm
            Don said | January 19th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

            It was reported last year that Benji was happy to accept a low money contract because he had his own off field deals which totalled $500k
            But he needed to be playing NRL to keep those deals alive.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 10:33am
          Nat said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Exactly Emcie. Not many people understand TPA’s from the sponsors POV. It’s not just a bag of money for the next available player, it’s really a marketing cost. The player is a product and that product has to align with your brand, show up to events and most importantly add something that makes their brand memorable/familiar to their customers.

          • January 23rd 2018 @ 10:33am
            Pete said | January 23rd 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            This makes the assumption that TPA’s are genuine endorsement deals. The evidence is that there are many dodgey ones where players are overpaid to do nothing or very little.

            Based on the only numbets the NRL use to publish, registered TPA’s went from a few million to 15 million+ in 5 years. Did the amount of promotion players were doing multiply by the same amount?

    • January 19th 2018 @ 8:37am
      Peeeko said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      The roosters squad is pretty thin outside players 1-15. Playing for luck with injuries

      • Columnist

        January 19th 2018 @ 10:16am
        Tim Gore said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report


    • January 19th 2018 @ 8:52am
      Peter Phelps said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Several years ago, I wrote to the NRL suggesting they adopt a player ranking system based on experience, performance and achievements and then slot those players into bands. Each band would then carry a nominal value which could be used to identify a “salary” that would be used in calculating the cap. Since rankings for every player would be know then any joe blow could calculate compliance. Third party deals would not matter and would be an issue for club/player only.

      For example

      Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk would all be tier 1 with say a 1000 salary or points level
      Benji Marshall who is coming to the end of his career but has achievements/experience might be Tier 4 worth say 100 salary points.
      Garath Widdop might be Tier 2 on say 800 points

      Total salary points cap for 2018 say 10000 points

      All of this is calculated by the NRL and is published each October. The key word there being published.

      Third party deals would not matter under this system neither would actual salaries and back ended contracts would not matter The system is simple. Ranks could be calculated from actual verifiable match performance stats and things like dally m points or representative honours.

      The NRL responded with a polite note and did nothing.

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2018 @ 9:11am
        Emcie said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        The biggest problem with that policy is finding a way to accurately value players. You’d still have supporters and clubs crying foul over clubs with smarter recruitment policies. Successful clubs players would prepetually be “undervalued” while cellerdwellers would be “overvalued”. Recruitment would revolve around finding the best value players using proprietory statistics to exploit the mechenic which would in turn lead to the the most well resourced clubs gaining a definate advantage over smaller clubs. You’d just be switching the current problems for different ones, not fixing anything

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:46am
          Peter Phelps said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          Emcie, I strongly disagree. Calculating the rankings would be very easy. The stats are produced by player today. Most credible RL sites have stats on trys, hit ups, tackles, try assists etc etc. Provided the formula was determined up front it is pure maths and even clubs cannot dispute pure maths though I accept they may argue points on the formula. Still I am sure that the clubs coming to agreement on the formula would be a lot better than the constant tirade of issues over the cap/breeches/rumours/audits etc etc.

          If Club A has smarter recruitment policies over club B then BRAVO club A in my view. We should not be trying to nanny clubs who cannot get their back office in order.

          “Recruitment would revolve around finding the best value players using proprietory statistics to exploit the mechenic” I am sure an element of this would exist but really the scope would be very limited and I would argue that well resourced clubs would have less of an advantage than today simply because they cannot supplement low salaries with lucrative 3rd party deals.

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 11:51am
            The Barry said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            That’s just turning NRL into Super Coach…

            • January 19th 2018 @ 12:03pm
              Peter Phelps said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

              Have to say there are similarities but then again, who is to say that supercoach has got it wrong ?

              The salary cap system we have today is a massive festering wound on the side of this sport and we need to find some way to fix it.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 12:42pm
                Gray-Hand said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                It is well known that coaches and players have contempt for SuperCoach, at least as far as measuring the contribution and value of players.

              • Roar Rookie

                January 19th 2018 @ 3:20pm
                Don said | January 19th 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                As should most people when measuring player input and value.
                Look at a guy like Josh Jackson who is a super efficient defender and rarely requires any additional player assistance to bring guys down and hold them on the ground. His tackles are measured the same way that anyone else who is first into a tackle but receives help from 2 team mates to finish it.

                Or, just measuring Sam Burgess’ run meters and comparing them with Aaron Woods’. Burgess has more impact, causes damage and draws more defenders often resulting in a fractured line for the next player to hit up against.

                Woods is like a hairy mobile blancmange by comparison. His runs give opponents time to reset their defence while they lock him down.

                But hey, they both ran for 150m…

              • January 19th 2018 @ 9:45pm
                no one in particular said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

                Suercoach hasn’t got it close to being right. Arbitrary values given to stats. A simple regression analysis shows that the values are way off

      • January 19th 2018 @ 9:22am
        Lachy said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        What happens if Widdop all of a sudden become a tier 1 player, when the dragons had budgeted their cap on him being a tier 2? All of a sudden they are over the ranking cap

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:48am
          Peter Phelps said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

          He would accrue the extra points for the following season and have to be fitted under the new cap. Its exactly the same as with contract increases today, only difference is that the upgrade would be public and obvious.

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 11:55am
            The Barry said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

            It’s not the same.

            Clubs can control increases and they can be planned well in advance.

            With your system you don’t know a players value until the end of the current season. It would be a shambles.

            Vunivalu and JAC go from being players with hardly any first grade experience to massively expensive as the seasons leading tryscorers in the space of one season. It’s unmanageable.

            • January 20th 2018 @ 9:34am
              Peter Phelps said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

              Clubs would have a pretty good idea of how their players are going and the likelihood of them going up well before year end the better clubs would plan for that. Its a bit like an accountant budgeting for inflation or salary increases.

              “Vunivalu and JAC go from being players with hardly any first grade experience to massively expensive as the seasons leading tryscorers in the space of one season. It’s unmanageable”

              ……. and you think their $ contracts didn’t increase massively after or even during that breakout year ? You think another club wouldn’t have been sniffing round those two if Melbourne hadn’t moved to secure them. Come on, its not that much different in reality.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 10:24am
                Gray-Hand said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                Their contracts would have remained the same until they expired. If their contracts doubled mid season the team would probably be in breach of the cap.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 9:27am
        Gray-Hand said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

        That system would actually penalise players for playing well. Their market value would diminish by rising through the tiers.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:50am
          Peter Phelps said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          Disagree, Every player would want to increase their tier since that would be a strong negotiating tool when contract discussions start. Its just a way of putting the whole thing in the public domain, putting some science to it and removing the emotion around remuneration.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 11:46am
            Gray-Hand said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            It isn’t an advantage. It’s a disadvantage at the negotiating table. Clubs won’t think a player is better because the NRL has put a number on the player. They will use their own judgment about the playing quality of the player and will be more reluctant to hire players of a higher tier.

            There are 2 players of basically the same quality, but one of them happens to have just squeezed into tier 2 instead of tier 3. The other one is at the top of the next tier. Basically both the type of players who would be paid $300k per year today.

            There is a big benefit to hiring the lower tier player because he brings a point cap bonus, whereas the benefit to hiring the other player due to his marginally better quality is very slight.

            It is easy toimagine how coaches would send out instructions to stop the scoring once teams have opened up a 3 try lead, or benching their stars in order to suppress their statistics.

            The more I think about it, the worse an idea it is.

            • January 20th 2018 @ 9:44am
              Peter Phelps said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

              “It is easy toimagine how coaches would send out instructions to stop the scoring once teams have opened up a 3 try lead, or benching their stars in order to suppress their statistics”

              I very much doubt that any 5 or 6 tiered system would be so sensitive that any coach would issue such a nonsensical instruction. Coaches and players want to win, players want to play well. There would be great pride in a player who moves up the rankings and I can see it becoming quite competitive. Also can you see the coach fronting upto the press of the board and say, “Yeah they came back strongly in that last 5 minutes and just snatched the victory but hey we saved 0.5 a salary point from next years cap”

            • January 20th 2018 @ 9:51am
              Peter Phelps said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

              “There is a big benefit to hiring the lower tier player because he brings a point cap bonus, whereas the benefit to hiring the other player due to his marginally better quality is very slight”

              This is probably correct and would probably happen in some cases however I think the recruitment process is far more complex than this simple analogy takes into account. If they are this close then factors like temperament, how they fit with the team, draw with fans and sponsors, press attention good and bad, history, is the player on his way up or has he reached his potential, age etc etc. These things would all come into play but OK I concede your point.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 10:18am
        Big Daddy said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        The only problem I have with a point system is if they are rated at their highest level and paid accordingly.
        Look at someone like tony Williams who played SOO and now struggles to get into reserve grade.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 10:56am
          Peter Phelps said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

          This is where the grading formula comes in. A better example I think would be Benji. He would clearly have made Tier 1 at some stage in his career however performance stats and lack of NRL games in recent years would pull that down, hence the Tier 4 rating.

          I was thinking about some sort of discount on stats over time e.g. performances 5 years ago only get counted at the rate of 10% whereas last year’s stats would carry full whack something like that. Getting that formula right is key and I am sure there are some Mathematics Professors out there that could come up with something meaningful.

          Pay is irrelevant and an issue for clubs and players only

          • January 19th 2018 @ 11:27am
            Big Daddy said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

            I think some of the country league areas use a points system but not sure how it works. I know Newcastle rugby league use it but it still hamstring s richer club’s.
            The club’s that have successful leagues (in the country) are always targeted but it’s sometimes the tall poppy sydrome.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 12:44pm
        matth said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        Peter, this penalises well run clubs. Believe it or not players will play for clubs that are well run, have a history of success, have a good coaching set up, have good training facilities, etc. But now there is no incentive there. you have you points to spend and that’s it.

        • January 20th 2018 @ 9:54am
          Peter Phelps said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Its no different than under a salary cap. Players would always prefer to [lay for the better run clubs but not everyone can fit under the salary cap now. This points system is little different in reality.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 4:00pm
        Mushi said | January 19th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

        Then you wrote about the Worst. Idea. Ever.

        You give any semi intelligent human being one of these systems and they will drive a truck through it.

        Different positions have different influence, different coaches use different positions as fulcrum for attack and defence, multiple year contracts are impossible under this system.

        And that is assuming your tiering is an accurate and elegant measure of quality to begin with.

        This would be the worst idea in organised sport that I can remember. I can’t even come up with an approximate parallel it’s so poor

      • January 19th 2018 @ 9:40pm
        no one in particular said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

        Unfair system. Subjective value given to achievements and “end of career”. Not all origin players and internationals are equal. Most importantly, player careers are not linear.

        James Tedesco is worth more than Blake Ferguson, but under a points system Ferguson would be worth more. He has played 7 times for NSW and 7 more for Australia. Tedesco has only played 5 Origin games.

        • January 20th 2018 @ 10:02am
          Peter Phelps said | January 20th 2018 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          Where did I say subjective ???

          The whole point of this is that it is objective, systemised and fully transparent.

          I have already made suggestions around declining careers and how any model could take that into account.

          OK I give in. You guys are absolutely great at knocking down ideas and killing anything remotely innovative. I cannot compete in the defence department so come on let me hear how you are going to solve this huge festering sore that is the salary cap and the massive damage we do to clubs and the sport every time a club is caught cheating – next up Manly – come on jurnos come and gorge yourselves its party time !

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