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Why over 1500 games worth of NRL experience could be forced to retire

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Roar Guru
27th March, 2020

As we have seen recently, a lot of NRL staff and coaches have been told they have been let go to ease the financial strain on the NRL.

It’s been reported that players want a 50 per cent pay cut but the NRL want them to take 70 per cent or more.

The NRL has also shut down contract deals for the meanwhile because of the current financial strain due to the coronavirus pandemic. The salary cap could change a lot depending on how much money will be lost.

Tyson Frizell has confirmed that he has left the Dragons and has signed with the Knights on a three-year-deal starting next season worth around $2.1 million, which is a big gain for the Knights but a big loss for the Dragons.

Dragons recruiter Ian Milward said that with Frizell leaving the club, they have a lot of money to play around with in the player market.

David Fifita is currently still unsigned with reports that teams like the Titans have offered him $2 million, but his mum still has a big say in where he goes and who he signs with. His best option is to stay in Brisbane, but other clubs like South Sydney – who are financially stable – could be better.


Cameron Smith, who has played over 400 games for the Storm, is expected to retire to help the Storm in their financial issues. This will be a big loss for the Storm but they have a young number nine in Brandon Smith who is electric around the play-the-ball.

Cameron Smith

(AAP Image/Craig Golding)

Nick Cotric is expected to re-sign with the Raiders but with the uncertainty around money and salary cap costs, chief executive Dave Furner said he spoke to Cotric during the week and will talk to his agent later on. But it will be hard to see Cotric play anywhere else.

The list below is all the players that could be forced to retire to help their clubs financially – and a lot of game experience could be lost.

The big names include Cameron Smith (Storm, 413 games), Chris Lawrence (Tigers, 242 games), Benji Marshall (Tigers, 310 games), Darius Boyd (Broncos, 319 games), Kieran Foran (Bulldogs, 199 games), James Graham (Dragons, 182 games), Iosia Soliola (Raiders, 202 games).

If those seven players were to retire to ease the financial difficulties for clubs and the NRL, that means 1867 games worth of NRL experience will be gone just like that. It will be sad to see players like Cameron Smith retire but it can help the game get better by bringing in good young players.

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These are uncertain times for the game and most people think the NRL will fall into a deep, deep hole.

But the game will only get better and stronger as a family, however, unfortunately families fight and that means the NRL could reduce the number of teams to 12 instead of 16, which will seriously help the NRL but leave hundreds of NRL players without a club to go to.