Scrap the NRL Salary Cap

NRL Salary CapThe 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 –

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 — 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 — 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 — 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.

3 thoughts on “Scrap the NRL Salary Cap”

  1. Dear Readers,

    I really have to disagree with much of what is said in the above comment. Even though this may seem like a good idea it reeks of wroughting.
    A club like Brisbane with heavy corporate backing could and would spend overs on “what a player was worth (according to the market)”. This would atrtract players to particular teams. If a team is struggling they would obviously have less money to spend on the Higher echelon of “A” Grade players leaving them with the lower ranked players.

    My dear friend Dave this is quite simple, you will not have equal distribution of players throughout the NRL and therfore we will be left with a competition like the English Premier league. Keeping this in mind there would also be a negative for the cash strapped clubs where their return on investment for the players purchased will be low due to the fact of their high purchase price and lower level of skill compared to the higer end of “A” grade players.

    Lets look at it in the form of an equation

    16 x Teams
    3 x A grade players per team

    Would you say that there is a total of 48 A grade players in the NRL at the moment? I would think not. So if a team can purchase up to 3 A grade players then the teams like Brisbane or Newcastle that can purchase and bigger pockets will snap up the 3 top rated players at any price and the top 3 top rated B grade players etc etc.

    The equilibrium that the Cap brings will be thrown out of the window the distribution of players will be based on revenue on clubs alone. The demand of players will be controlled by the supply of funds.

    I will give you credit for the idea that all business with third pary sponsors should be the business of the players and not of the NRL.

    Thankyou for your comment but it is clear to say it is quite flawed.

    Kind Regards,

    The Pizza Man

  2. Fantastic, you should put that idea towards the NRL.

    I’m sick of seeing my favourite players walk out, because they are frustrated and want more money.

    for heavens sake give them what they are worth and what they want.

    i also hate losing to AFL and other codes.

  3. Hi,

    Just a note, there are no restrictions on what a player can earn from external sponsors… contrary to the popular belief.

    It is only the club sponsors who can not pay overs. (Otherwise the salary cap would be redundant because for example, the Broncos major sponsor WOW – could just load up their contracts and thus, the salary cap would be meaningless – the richest clubs would be free to buy up all the talent leaving a dull competition – and sending other teams broke.)

    Third part deals are allowed,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *