The NRL should scrap the salary cap says Dave Thomas and introduce a grading system; feel free to comment on Dave’s opinion below or email NRL News with your own article, thoughts or NRL insight – NRLfeedback@gmail.com
In light of the extraordinary attention the Sonny Bill Williams “issue” has attracted over recent times, and the fact that I am a long-time lover of the game of rugby league and hate to see the serious and permanent damage that is occurring as well as the ground we are losing to Aussie Rules, Football (Soccer) and Rugby, I have been giving the issue of the salary cap and player payments some considered thought.
What I have come up with, in my opinion, seems to be a simple yet effective solution to a serious problem (so simple, in fact, that I am sure it may have been already thought of).
Scrap the salary cap, and every player gets a grading (be it from 1 to 6, or A to F, it doesn’t matter, as long as it is fair and consistent) based on the same / similar things that dictate their current worth. Things like skill level, potential value to the club from a revenue perspective, ability, etc., (would you consider including salary level as an indicator as well â€” not sure). This grading system should be open and transparent, issued and monitored by an independent body, and apply to all players. Rookies may get a separate grading (“R”) on their debut year, to allow for the grading process to be carried out and a grade to be determined. Alternatively, they may be able to be graded on their performance in the lower grades.
Each team would then be allowed to have a certain number of graded players per team â€” maybe 3 x “A” grade players, 3 x “B” grade players, and so on. Clubs may get a discount on “R” (rookie) grade players, or on players that have come up through their feeder clubs. The market would dictate the value of a player, and since the salary level of the team as a whole was not capped, but the numbers of different graded player was, a club could spend what a player was worth (according to the market) not what the salary cap allowed â€” problem solved!
All of the clubs would get a fair share of talent (by limiting the number of different grades of player a team may have), making sure all teams are competitive, and the players get a fair market price for their labour, as dictated by the market.
If players earn additional income from sponsorships or otherwise, it is something that should be their business, not the NRL.
As in all markets for instance, if there is a glut of “A” grade players, their value will come down and more teams will have more choice. The converse is also applicable.
I understand the above is a very simplistic view of it all, but surely it is some good food for thought?
This might also make things a bit easier for new teams in other states (the NRL needs to make it a truly national competition), and may go a long way to help solve the problem of poaching from overseas.