What if the salary cap really was just a brown paper sombrero?

featured, League, NRL, NRL salary cap, Rugby League



Do you ever wonder what the fabulously wealthy owners of the silvertail clubs like South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters dream about every night before nodding off to sleep in their harbourside mansions after a hard day of counting their money?

Well, let me tell you.

They dream of an alternative rugby league dimension where the salary cap is just a notion, and they can buy as many players as they can personally afford in order to win the Provan-Summons trophy that they covet from dawn until dusk.

In this dream state utopian world, they could buy up all of the talent that they could get their hands on, for whatever price, either to use the players themselves, or to deny their wealthy opponents the opportunity to do so.

The less fortunate clubs – who are still relying on the NRL grant, poker machines, and the sale of some club trinkets for their financial survival – would be permanently resigned to failure and mediocrity.

Their primary role would be to make up the numbers, and to nurture and develop players for eventual acquisition by the BRW Rich Listers.

Come to think of it, there seems to be a number of clubs doing that now!

Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs reacts after scoring a try during the round 24 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium on August 27, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Before we go any further, let’s not forget that we’re talking about some very busy and influential people here, so they won’t have time to look at individual player resumes and highlights packages.

No, they’ll just go with the market, and snap up the most expensive players that they can find in each position, in the belief that price equates to quality, just like it does when acquiring a property, super yacht or personal jet.

So here’s the team that they’re dreaming of, selected purely on price according to their current (rumoured) contract values for the 2022 season.

1. James Tedesco ($1.1m)
2. Kalyn Ponga ($1m)
3. Tom Trbojevic ($1.1m)
4. Latrell Mitchell ($750k)
5. Valentine Holmes ($750k)
6. Cameron Munster ($1m)
7. Daly Cherry-Evans ($1.2m)
8. Jake Trbojevic ($900k)
9. Ben Hunt ($1.1m)
10. Addin Fonua-Blake ($850k)
11. David Fifita ($1.1m)
12. Wade Graham ($750k)
13. Jason Taumalolo ($950k)
14. Jack Wighton ($900k)
15. David Klemmer ($800k)
16. Martin Taupau ($800)
17. Andrew Fifita ($850k)

David Fifita

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

According to my maths, that comes in just under the $16 million mark, loose pocket change for some, and certainly a small price to pay for success, bragging rights and a photo opportunity following the victory lap.

A quick whip-around the board-room table and success is secured, leaving the annual NRL grant to pay for the coaching staff and the rest of the 30-man squad.

Dream on!

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