It had to come, the naming of players alleged to be at the centre of the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal.
It’s come to light that apparently Billy Slater, Michael Crocker, Steve Turner, Brett White, Cooper Cronk, Cam Smith and Dallas Johnson were at the heart of the secret payments.
The Storm’s Secret 7 are obviously key players that helped make the Storm what they are today.
All except Steve Turner have worn the colours of the Australian Kangaroos.
What makes this even more interesting is that Crocker and Turner are now playing for new clubs, with the reason for the move apparently around salary cap restrictions.
While Crocker was to initially play in the UK, a turn of events saw him wind up at South Sydney – and you’d have to think he’d be on a decent wicket there at the Bunnies. A team that’s boasting the likes of Sam Burgess, Roy Asotasi, John Sutton, Nathan Merritt and Rhys Wesser to name a few.
Adding fuel to the fire was former Storm coach Chris Anderson, who believes that most if not all NRL teams are pulling some swift moves in regards to the salary cap.
”If you’ve been in the game as long as I have, everyone has had a shot at the salary cap,” Anderson told media outlets last night.
”I think the other clubs are just as culpable. Certainly there has been anecdotal evidence of other clubs doing the same. Not exactly the same thing but it was just as underhanded and considered in the way they did it. That in itself deserves punishment.
But Anderson like Gould, believes while the punishment of stripping the NRL Premierships is justified – the fact that the Melbourne Storm cannot earn competition points in 2010 has essentially made this years Premiership a ‘mickey mouse comp’.
Anderson and Gould are not alone in this line of thinking.
The NRL cannot expect Bellamy and the Storm players to put in 100% every week for no return. It’s simply not workable and it opens the door to other potential problems.
With players having nothing to play for, it could result in ‘points shaving’ – where they may run dead for personal gain.
Something needs to change moving forward, otherwise not only the Storm will be punished – other clubs and fans may feel the pinch too if the comp suffers overall.