Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fixing the NRL Salary Cap (2013)

The absurdity of the second tier salary cap has reared its head quite emphatically in the past week due to the circumstances that have prevented talented Penrith rookie Fullback Matt Moylan not being allowed to play because his match payments would exceed the club’s second tier salary cap and thus, put the Panthers over the cap.

With the number of players seeking massively increased salaries with the cap increase, it means there is a very real potential that a team could be hit as hard by injuries as Penrith have been this year and they will have to choose between fielding less than 17 players on game day, playing an injured player, or exceeding the salary cap.

This situation should never take place.

Basically speaking, the NRL salary cap covers the top 25 players at each club. The NYC squads have their own cap as well. The second tier cap is used to cover those who play in the NRL, on match payments only, and who aren’t members of the NRL and NYC squads.

This leads to a number of issues, some of which have been fleetingly discussed over the years but with no action.

*It forces NRL clubs to use NYC players to cover injuries in the NRL, instead of older players in feeder clubs or other competitions. This has often been criticised as it can lead to greater injuries, especially long term, to the younger players. A lot of these players aren’t up to NRL standard at the time either, which is why the NYC is in place.

This is a major reason why a genuine Reserve Grade competition must be reinstated, as a stepping stone between NYC and NRL. Instead of a second tier salary cap, have a reserve grade cap. Three grades worth of players should be able to cover injuries without any concerns.

*Since 2007, there have been just 5 instances out of 96, where a team has used 25 players or less in a year (2013 not included). These were Souths (2012) 25 players, Manly (2012) 24 players, Manly (2011) 25 players, Manly (2010) 24 players and New Zealand Warriors (2007) 23 players.

This is a breakdown of the number of players a squad used in a season for the years 2007-2012 (inclusive):

23 players – 1
24 players – 2
25 players – 2
26 players – 8
27 players – 13
28 players – 18
29 players – 16
30 players – 10
31 players – 10
32 players – 5
33 players – 6
34 players – 1
36 players – 2
37 players – 1
38 players – 1

With this data it is clear to see that having an NRL squad of 25 is too small as it is very rare that a club uses 25 players or less.

If the NRL squad size was increased from 25 players to 30 and the salary cap increased by $880,000 it would almost abolish the sort of crazy circumstances that prevent young talented players like Matt Moylan from being forced to miss playing in the NRL due to some accounting by-law.

Reinstating a genuine reserve grade competition, of which every club must have a side (as they do in the NYC) would completely prevent this sort of absurdity from happening ever again.

It would also mean more advertising space for sponsors, more games to televise, more games on game day, better value for money for fans, fans at games for longer, less long term and severe injuries to the young talent coming through the NYC system and a stronger NRL competition.

Everyone wins.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

An Interview With Rebecca Wilson (2013)

Rebecca Wilson is known by rugby league fans as a nefarious opinion writer, whose works fall on the creative side of the writing art form.

In an effort to allow her to reveal her true feelings towards the game and to explain herself, she didn’t agree to this interview.

This is an interview with Rebecca Wilson, but it is a case of art imitating life. I have carried out this interview using the very techniques that have been tried and tested by Rebecca herself.

Hello Rebecca, bad to meet you.
RW: I’m happy to be here.
First of all I have to ask, Rebecca, do you hate Rugby League?
RW: No. I’m a fan of the game. I just do not like the players or the fans.
Thank you for being so honest. May I ask a personal question?
RW: Sure.
Have you ever done something wrong like breaking the law, maybe something immoral or other similar things that you knew was wrong, while you have been in your current profession?
RW: I’m sure we all have done things that we know were wrong.
Did you get harangued in the media and by the population for all of these wrongs?
RW: Why should I?
Because you hold an important position in the media where you can persuade people to alter their opinions on a subject, as you have access to sources.
RW: What is a sources?
Inside information. People with intimate knowledge of an incident that may not be in the public domain.
RW: Is that what they are?
Well yes. What did you think they were?
RW: Stuff I made up for my column.
You mean ideas.
RW: No, I mean sources.
So, why are you so compelled to lay the boot into rugby league ad-nauseum, despite your own admittedly similar wrong-doings?
RW: Because it is a cash cow.
Is that cow related to you?
RW: Who?
Rhetorical question, sorry. Moving on, what would rugby league need to do to see you write positive articles about it all the time, highlighting the dearth of good work that goes on by players and clubs, unnoticed?
RW: Integrity and accountability would be a good start.
Would you be inclined to meet them halfway in that quest?
RW: Are there suggestions that I have no integrity or accountability?
Calling them suggestions would be naïve if I were to be completely honest with you.
RW: I believe I have no semblance of integrity or accountability. Never have. Never will.
Okay. Let’s change the tone a bit. Do you know much about rugby league, the game, not the rumours and gossip?
RW: I’m of the belief I do.
Which team do you support?
RW: The Cronulla ASADA Essendon’s.
That’s not a team.
RW: Yes it is. I almost comically, became one of their cheerleaders.
Really? Who got the cheerleader roles instead of you then?
RW: Kate Lundy and Jason Clare.
Figures. Rebecca, what do you consider to be the one great gift you have that separates you from the vast amount of writing talent in this country who are unable to get a cushy gig like you have?
RW: I must say, with great glee, I can start a witch-hunt better than anybody.
And that’s something you’re proud of?
RW: As far as a good witch-hunt is concerned, I am the messiah.
Do you consider yourself to be unique in your field?
RW: Because I’m a woman?
No, because you write gossip and hearsay and pass it off as fact. You have quite a bad reputation for publishing stories that haven’t been verified.
RW: I have colleagues who produce the very same dreadfully, almost comically bad, stuff that I do, like Phil Rothfield.
I can’t argue with you there. It’s just remarkable that they all manage to work for the same paper don’t you think?
RW: There are rogues in the ranks of the media, I admit.
Rogues is being generous isn’t it Rebecca?
RW: Yes it is.
Okay, penultimate question, using 5 words, how would you describe the ethics of the newspaper you work for?
RW: Circling wolves, judge and jury.
And finally, using 5 words, how would you describe yourself?
RW: highly paid, bad, without substance.
Rebecca Wilson, thanks for wasting my time.
RW: I have to bolt to the can, apparently it is full of sources for my next story.
Okay, bye bye.

All words attributed to Rebecca Wilson are taken from her following articles: