Recent reports suggest the Broncos are considering a ten-year, $1 million-plus per season deal for 21-year-old Payne Haas, flaring discussions in the NRL community about lengthy contracts and whether they are a smart option for the club or player.
Some examples of the extensive contracts signed in the NRL include Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo signing a ten-year, $1 million per season deal with North Queensland, and Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans penning an eight-year, $1.3 million per season contract with the Sea Eagles.
Who benefits from a ten-year deal? On the surface, it provides the club with security that their impact player isn’t going anywhere, as well as financial security for the player.
NRL football players don’t have a long career playing in the top grade and therefore it seems a wise decision to lock yourself into a long-term, money-heavy contract.
However, there are just as many downfalls with a contract with such longevity. It is possible the player can lose motivation and hunger after securing such a deal, the average yearly wages can increase due to an increase in the salary cap, and suddenly a million dollar player is a $1.8 million player in the later years of their contract.
On the club’s end, it can be a blessing and a curse. You could end up forking out $1 million-plus a year for a player who suddenly isn’t contributing as he was, and worst case scenario, you’re paying $20k per week for someone to play reserve grade until they redeem themselves.
While there is limited evidence to back these up as these decade-long contracts are a recent talking point, I’m not a strong believer in the instability of these contracts. Four-year contracts can bring out the best of everyone and benefit all parties.
The term ‘rebuilding’ is being thrown around a lot in the NRL world these days, particularly when referencing the Bulldogs and Broncos. As of late, even the Warriors and Tigers have been thrown into the world of “rebuilding”.
It seems that at the start of each season, a rebuild is not even discussed and all teams are contending for the top eight. Half a dozen losses later, “We’re in a rebuilding phase and will be contending for the finals”.
It seems underperforming below expectations is part of the rebuilding phase.
Granted, the Bulldogs have recruited heavily for a genuine chance at the top eight next season, and the Broncos have secured Adam Reynolds and Kurt Capewell, but have also missed out on some potentially groundbreaking signings such as Nicho Hynes.
I’m not against saying that rebuilding a team from rock bottom doesn’t work – have a look at Parramatta five years ago. It’s just the term is loosely thrown around.
Now, we wait until 2022 where the bottom four teams are “rebuilding”.
In 2021, we have seen an immense number of lopsided games. We see the top six or so teams absolutely crushing the bottom half of the table by 40 minimum. We have seen numbers in the 40s each week, and regularly in the 50s and, on occasion, the 60s.
Pundits have mixed opinions, some blaming the rule changes and speed of the six-again rule and some purely based on the abundance of quality on one side, compared to one severely lacking in all positions.
Fans around the country are switching off their TVs at halftime after the difference in points is over 30 and the game is sealed.
Of course, every round features close matches and even the underdogs coming away with a W, however, the chances of upsets are at their lowest, as well as the bookies’ odds, which are some that have never been seen before in the NRL.
Roarers, how does Peter V’landys captivate his audience again?