Michael Hooper signs enormous deal with Rugby Australia

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has agreed to a new $6 million deal with Rugby Australia, which will keep him in Australian rugby for the next five years.

    The huge new deal was reported by Jamie Pandaram of the Daily Telegraph on Thursday evening, with the flanker set to lead the Wallabies into the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship during the coming weeks if he can overcome a hamstring strain which has badly hampered his preparation.

    The $6 million over five years will equate to $1.2 million in contracted earnings per year.

    The deal means Hooper will be with Rugby Australia – and presumably the Waratahs – through to the end of 2023, ensuring he will be available for the next two World Cups in 2019 and 2023.

    It will make him the richest player under contract with Rugby Australia, with the currently 26-year-old Hooper almost certain to now end his career at home, rather than heading overseas.

    While it’s unclear exactly what value he would have commanded overseas, the deal is a big coup for Rugby Australia with Hooper one of the most talented players in the world.

    As it stands, Hopper has played 82 Tests for the Wallabies having made his debut in 2012. He first became captain of the national team during 2014 and was the youngest to have the honour bestowed upon him since Ken Catchpole in 1961.

    At club level, Hooper spent the first three years of his career with the Brumbies, and has been with the Waratahs ever since. His highlight there was captaining the Sydney-based side to the 2014 Super Rugby final, but he has become one of the best players in the competition.

    The deal is also an historic one. Hooper is just the second player in Australian rugby history to take up a five-year deal after Lote Tuqiri in 2007.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 2000 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (148)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 9th 2018 @ 6:34pm
      Dave_S said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

      Whoa that’s serious coin! Good luck to him.

      Anyone know how that compares to others at the moment, eg Folau?

      • August 9th 2018 @ 6:51pm
        Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

        I heard that Folau was on closer to $2 million per year.

        • Roar Guru

          August 9th 2018 @ 7:13pm
          Kane said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:13pm | ! Report

          Christ! The All Blacks are on peanuts compared to that.

          • August 9th 2018 @ 7:41pm
            Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

            After having just checked mate it included money earned from Japan. So my post should be ignored as I really don’t know much is from the ARU 😊


            • Roar Guru

              August 9th 2018 @ 8:36pm
              Kane said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

              Fair call, realistically what would Folau be getting from Japan?

              • August 9th 2018 @ 8:42pm
                Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                Based on not a lot I wouldn’t have thought it could be too much considering he seemed to be able to play their on short term contracts. I would have thought the majority would come from Australia?

                Regardless, he is one big money from the ARU clearly. I wonder how the salaries of the top Wallabies compare to the top All Blacks. The All Black jersey seems to be more valuable, so players probably need less financial incentive to stay.

              • August 9th 2018 @ 10:50pm
                Rhys Bosley said | August 9th 2018 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

                $500k for a short season was what I read.

          • August 9th 2018 @ 10:17pm
            Dontcallmeshirley said | August 9th 2018 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

            Maybe that’s one of the reasons the ABs are so good. Egos are well under control and others are not so disadvantaged as all the money has not been spent on a few superstars.

            • Roar Guru

              August 9th 2018 @ 11:20pm
              Bakkies said | August 9th 2018 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

              I don’t believe so. Yes they value the shirt however they lose a lot of young players capped or uncapped that haven’t fulfilled their potential. Blokes like Read and Ben Smith are on good coin for their age profile. The NZRU don’t piss money up the wall and I doubt they have a bloated head office full of overpaid executives like the RA.

              The Kiwis don’t pay overs for on or off contract players that are abroad to bring them back to NZ in their 20s or early 30s. Instead they develop the youngsters coming through and making sure they work on their game so they aren’t a deer in the headlights. Australian Rugby’s underage sides are nowhere near where they used to be.

              • Roar Guru

                August 10th 2018 @ 8:34am
                Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

                New Zealand has Head Office costs about 2/3rds of Australia – Funnily enough that basically aligns with the variance in salaries and expenses between the locations.

                The claim that RA has a bloated head office of overpaid executives is laughable to anybody who has made any effort to understand where the money goes. The CEO makes similar to what an AFL Club CEO makes, except is running an organisation with twice the turnover. The chairman and board members are paid a very small amount and at times have taken no remuneration at all.

              • August 10th 2018 @ 12:07pm
                Matt said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                The the NZRU oversees 25% more Super rugby players and a stack more ITM cup vs NRC, all for a third less in operating costs.

                Simply put the NZRU makes RA look like amateurs.

              • Roar Guru

                August 10th 2018 @ 1:57pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

                “Overseeing” the professional competitions is a minor part of the governing bodies.

                The NRL doesn’t have 550 people to over see the NRL competition.

              • August 10th 2018 @ 12:08pm
                Bakkies said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

                Cameron you have 110 full time staff working for you. That doesn’t include players, match officials and coaches.

                So what do the rest do?

              • Roar Guru

                August 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                Probably similar to what the NRL’s 550 employees do, but just on a smaller scale.

                Just at a guess anyway…

              • August 11th 2018 @ 7:16am
                soapit said | August 11th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

                twas the nrl is mainly focused on the comp itself (and a few add ons)

                the arlc is responsible for the overall game

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2018 @ 1:03pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 13th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                The ARLC is essentially the NRL board though Soapit.

      • August 10th 2018 @ 8:11am
        Realist said | August 10th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        This is why I hate what this team has become – it’s been completely hijacked by Sydney-based powerbrokers who have turned it into a Tah-based invitational side with the most biased selector head coach in the history of the professional era. Better players like Gill and McMahon are playing their trade overseas thanks to this overrated midget.

        Hooper and Chieka leaving our shores after next year’s RWC would have become a great opportunity to bridge the divides. I hope the Wallatahs get their skirts pulled down in the rugby championship, they do not represent the nation

        • August 10th 2018 @ 2:32pm
          Boggles the Mind said | August 10th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

          Perfectly summed up. When will the pain end ? Looks like at the earliest 2024.

    • August 9th 2018 @ 6:37pm
      soapit said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

      5 year term has been discussed plenty in the past but thats an incredible amount for a player in australian rugby. maybe theyre counting on a few izzy dollars being available soon and are hoping to make him a poster boy, not many signs he fits that role so far.

      more astounding for a 7 where we typically have a reasonable strong production line. for arguments sake lets say he’s in the best three players in oz, he not close to the most irreplaceable.

      fair few question marks on the logic for me. have had time since the 5 year deal was first floated to comes to terms with the apparent poor logic of the whole thing tho so the amount isnt much more than an eyebrow raise.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 8:53pm
        The Slow Eater said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

        Good post Soapit. Whilst I really like Hooper, five years is a long time for someone who arguably isn’t the best captain or #7.

      • Roar Guru

        August 9th 2018 @ 9:10pm
        Train Without A Station said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

        My only issue is the fact they we produce so many good 7s.

        The drop in quality should we lose Hooper just isn’t anywhere near as great as other positions so to me doesn’t warrant prioritising him to a huge extent.

        • August 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm
          Matt said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

          Actually I think your rugby would improve without Hooper. Then you could actually play your best 7 at 7.

          Really can’t understand why you guys continue to play one of the best 7’s in the world out of position. Especially when you consider he is an average 8.

          • August 10th 2018 @ 1:45pm
            brian said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

            Well we also play one of the best wingers at fullback and one of the best fullbacks at inside centre and potentially one of the best inside centres at flanker

        • August 10th 2018 @ 12:42pm
          soapit said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

          i might have had my head in the sand but im a bit surprised overall at the amount of cash given the state of the game here. thought there would only be 1 or two hitting a million.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 9th 2018 @ 6:40pm
      Don said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

      Why would a cash strapped Aus Rugby pay way over the odds for a bloke who is a great player but plays in a spot where we have massive depth playing here, great talent coming through the ranks and also playing OS?
      If anyone was uncertain who the face of Aus Rugby will be for the next 5 years – here’s your answer.

      Boy, imagine what they will pay Bernard Foley or Taniella Tupou – players where we actually don’t have great depth…

      • August 9th 2018 @ 8:36pm
        Charlie Turner said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

        Don, whatever Hooper’s worth Tupou is worth double. This is Raelene’s Bulldogs salary cap debacle revisited.

        • Roar Guru

          August 9th 2018 @ 8:45pm
          Kane said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

          The only salary cap for the Wallabies is the bank 😉

          • August 9th 2018 @ 8:56pm
            Charlie Turner said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

            Yeah mate understood, it’s the profligate behaviour from an organisation flirting with insolvency that bothers me.

        • August 9th 2018 @ 8:54pm
          SP said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:54pm | ! Report

          C’mon, the Bulldogs are killing it 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        August 10th 2018 @ 11:28am
        jeznez said | August 10th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

        I think that is a good point Don – if they were announcing a 5 year deal for Tupou I’d be pretty over the moon. I think he’d have rocks in his head to sign one right now as I think his value is going to sky-rocket in the next couple of years but he is the one we should be trying to lock in long term.

        • August 10th 2018 @ 12:43pm
          soapit said | August 10th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

          also pretty marketable jez

    • August 9th 2018 @ 6:44pm
      bigbaz said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

      Every thing that is wrong with Australian rugby is right here if true.

      • August 9th 2018 @ 7:12pm
        Jimbo81 said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

        Spot on.
        Useless flawed player, crap captain, useless as a forward, terrible in the line out.

        Good ball runner and defensive tackler.

        Since he can only do half the job; cut his pay in half: or better yet: sack him to club rugby and let’s promote real rugby players to the national team instead of powder puff overrated tah pussies.

        • August 9th 2018 @ 7:34pm
          Daveski said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

          Old mate Jimbo….doing the keyboard warriors of Australia proud.

        • Roar Guru

          August 9th 2018 @ 8:34pm
          Kane said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

          Jimbo, they were originally going to pay him $12m

      • August 9th 2018 @ 8:57pm
        mad mick said | August 9th 2018 @ 8:57pm | ! Report


      • August 9th 2018 @ 9:09pm
        Reverse Wheel said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

        Actually everything wrong with Australian rugby is in your post and the first reply to it. Haters who have nothing to offer and just tear down, day after day after day. Your petty tribalism is ridiculous and is what is tearing the game in this country apart.

        • August 9th 2018 @ 9:16pm
          Bakkies said | August 9th 2018 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

          Carry on losing test matches, giving away yellows and being the most penalised test side in the game.

          I doubt Hooper’s extension includes a law exam more shrug of the shoulders and persecution complex.

        • August 10th 2018 @ 8:02am
          bigbaz said | August 10th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

          So you’ve decided to make a very poor decision on player payment and length of contract a piece about tribalism and hate. You are what’s wrong with Australian rugby. I have a lot to offer and my services are used by rugby on at least a tri weekly basis. Pull your head in.

        • August 10th 2018 @ 10:55am
          John P said | August 10th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          The most yellow carded player in history tells you how bad he is, but then he is rewarded $1.2 million a year for 5 years. If I was David Pocock Richard Hardwick Will Miller Liam Wright etc etc id walk out and go to Europe to join Gill and McMahon..

          • Roar Rookie

            August 10th 2018 @ 1:58pm
            Dave_S said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            What have Richard Hardwick Will Miller and Liam Wright got to complain about? Barely established even as SR players compared to Hooper.

            • August 10th 2018 @ 2:36pm
              John P said | August 10th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

              I guess you just don’t get it. I see you didn’t mention Pocock McMahon and Gill.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 10th 2018 @ 3:20pm
                Dave_S said | August 10th 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                Oh I can tell you’re smarter than me, that’s why I asked you what Richard Hardwick Will Miller and Liam Wright have got to complain about.

          • Roar Guru

            August 10th 2018 @ 2:44pm
            Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

            Saying “the most yellow carded player in history” kinda doesn’t really acknowledge the fact that yellow cards weren’t included in the laws until 1992.

            Therefore he’s only the most yellow carded player since 1992 for a start.

            • Roar Guru

              August 10th 2018 @ 2:46pm
              Train Without A Station said | August 10th 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

              Also ignores the fact that since then, laws have progressively been applied more strictly so we saw more now than we did even a decade ago.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 10th 2018 @ 3:23pm
                Dave_S said | August 10th 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

                Plus Hopper spends much more time on or near the ball that most other players.

              • August 10th 2018 @ 10:03pm
                Realist said | August 10th 2018 @ 10:03pm | ! Report

                Great call Dave S
                Hooper spends a lot of time near the ball – ‘not making steals and getting cleaned out with ease due by his opponents’.
                He has great speed, is a strong tackler and has a big motor but is a liability in many other respects. He also suffers from a lack of integrity after knifing McKenzie and transparently comes across as a courageous idiot rather than a tactician with genuine rugby nous. I couldn’t stand Michael Clarke as a bloke and he was a terrible leader of men – but as a tactician – he was masterful.
                Hooper is a hoax who happens to be glorified by the Sydney press and Tah fans. Another Phil Waugh..

              • August 11th 2018 @ 7:20am
                soapit said | August 11th 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

                considering all that sill plenty of contemporaries he’s managed to get in front of guys

    • August 9th 2018 @ 6:52pm
      Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

      Well, I definitely have huge reservations about this, but I wish Hooper all the best.

      At the very least it is nice to see a guy who is obviously committed to Australian rugby.

      • Roar Guru

        August 9th 2018 @ 7:06pm
        Mark Richmond said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

        Looks like I won’t be even thinking about following the Wallabies again until at least 2023……😏

        On a different note Fionn, did you get my reply to your email?

        • August 9th 2018 @ 7:16pm
          Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

          I did! Didn’t my reply get through the other week?? Hold on, I’ll resend it now.

          • Roar Guru

            August 9th 2018 @ 7:18pm
            Mark Richmond said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

            All good…Just checking that the great ANU computer dept didn’t mark me as spam! 😀

            • August 9th 2018 @ 7:32pm
              Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

              Replied! No, it wasn’t definitely my fault.

    • August 9th 2018 @ 6:58pm
      Hurles said | August 9th 2018 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

      Wow, I can’t even begin to see the logic behind this. A great player no doubt but not our best 7. A good leader but not a great captain. Paying remarkable money for a rediculous period to keep a player who fills a position in which we have great depth. He was also at the very heart of what tore the Wallabies apart in the McKenzie era. Fantastic player and good luck to him but honestly ARU, is there something you’re not telling us?

      • August 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm
        brian said | August 10th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

        Yeah thats always been my beef with the current squad seniors and Hooper in particular. Spiro waxed on a few weeks ago about how player power was a rot but that neglected to mention the impact of player power in the tawdry McKenzie business.

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