From the Cheap Seats – The Sydney Roosters and the reasons for their success

Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco

Congratulations to the 2018 NRL Premiership winners, the Sydney Roosters!
Jeez, as a Tigers fanatic, that was hard to write!

From the cheap seats, I hear all sorts of rumour, innuendo and theories about the Roosters their salary sombrero and Uncle Nick.

For all the hate, innuendo and accusations, the Roosters won because they were the best team. Coached brilliantly by Trent Robinson and his staff.

It is easy to accuse them of cheating the salary cap. I understand the frustration.

However, what ever the Roosters are doing with the management of their squad, they are doing a great job compliant to the rules and are obviously better at list management than all other clubs.

The NRL are extremely thorough in their auditing of all clubs including the Roosters.

After Melbourne were stripped of their premierships and Canterbury were stripped of all points for seasons past for breaking salary cap rules, all clubs know the punishment for any wrongdoing.

I admit, I look at the strength of the Roosters roster and wonder how they fit all players under the cap.

Their team reminds me of the amazing teams of the Brisbane Broncos and Canberra Raiders of the early 90’s full of Test and Origin players.

“The Roosters cheat the Salary Cap because Ian Schubert, an ex Rooster, is the head auditor of the Salary Cap for the NRL. ”

That is something I hear often. Ian Schubert is not an NRL salary cap auditor. He hasn’t been for many years.

The punishment is far too harsh to intentionally break salary cap rules.

Not only are the players penalised or stripped of their achievements, but the fans feel the pain more.

Clubs also lose as it tarnishes their brand and potentially reduces revenue.

If any team has the capability of going back to back, it is this Roosters Team. They have bought well for next season to improve on their perfection.

Angus Crichton, Brett Morris, Ryan Hall will all join the club in 2019.

“Hang on! How do they fit them in under the cap?” I hear many fans shout in frustration! “What a joke! They must be cheating the salary cap.”

Many fans are unaware that a player can earn money outside of the salary cap through third party agreements.

Teams like the Roosters, Brisbane and Melbourne easily attract third party sponsors due to the clubs brand and corporate connections.

Third party agreements are met with skepticism from opposing fans.

Most get a vision of a brown paper bag full of cash. Truth is, they have to be approved by the NRL before a contract can be ratified.

Players should be able to earn as much as they can. They only have a short playing life which could end at anytime.

Third party agreements enable players to earn their market value and for clubs to obtain good players over the preference of other clubs.

“So, how do we assure fans, players, clubs and officials that clubs are adhering to the Salary Cap? ”

Transparency! The NRL should release all club players salary and third party deals. This is something they can adopt from most American sports.

In American sports, players contract money is made public.

I understand this is invading the players privacy but I feel it is necessary for many reasons.

The first and most importantly to alleviate any suspicions from fans.

If the contracts of the Roosters roster were to be made public, the fans and officials would be able to see the team financials to understand and appreciate rather than accuse and be disrespectful of the teams achievements.

On the other hand, fans and officials would be able to see contract money for a player they feel is suspiciously under valued.

Particularly officials of other teams who offered far more than what the player has settled for at another club. This would act as a deterrent for any club attempting to break the rules.

“If the Roosters can obtain better third party deals than other clubs, is the salary cap equal for all? ”

All clubs have the ability to obtain sponsors. It is up to the clubs to build its brand so external sponsors want to invest in them.

Players themselves need to be accountable if they want to earn top dollar. They also need to understand their contract.

Too often, I hear players state they are not aware of the details of their contract.

“My manager deals with that” can not be an excuse.

A player should be aware of what their entitlements are and what aren’t.

If players and player managers were to be individually harshly penalised for receiving goods or cash outside of their contract this would also act as a deterrent.

It would also be a tax declaration issue and potential crime.

Recent Mad Monday exploits and bad publicity will not help clubs to maintain existing sponsorship and attract potential sponsors.

Every bad action off and on the field has a bearing on all clubs. Australia has so many sports for Sponsors to choose from.

From the view from the cheap seats, my opinion is that the Roosters should be congratulated on a great season and are deserved premiership winners for 2018.

Let me know your thoughts. Be respectful to all. Go the Tigers!!!

Pete Williams

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