Salary floor, salary cap, Wests Tigers, Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters, James Tedesco, Api Koroisau, Round 2


The NRL’s salary floor has come under fire for creating a false economy in the game where by struggling clubs are forced to pay overs for players that are not worth it to meet the rules.

Paul Kent explained that as well as a salary cap in rugby league there is also a salary floor, which forces clubs to spend 95 per cent of the salary cap on their first grade squad.

“Unknown to a lot of people as well as a salary cap we also have a salary floor, which is a minimum amount that clubs have to spend,” Kent said on NRL 360.

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“So clubs like the Tigers and like the Bulldogs and those clubs at the bottom of the table, they have to spend to a certain amount.

“So if they judge every player fair value and it comes to a million dollars under the cap, which is probably fair value, they are not allowed to do that.

“They have got to spend it up until 95 per cent of what the cap is, so they have to basically reward players with more money under the CBA rules.”

Phil Rothfield pointed out that clubs can prepay players for the following season.

“They can prepay them for next year,” Rothfield interjected.

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The Tigers have to pay overs to attract players to the club.Source: Getty Images

However, Kent believes that struggling clubs find it difficult to rise up the ladder because they have their hands tied behind their backs to pay underperforming players more than their market value to meet the rules.

“Let’s not got technical with all that sort of stuff, but in bare simple terms they have a minimum amount to spend,” Kent said.

“So rather than sit there and say, let’s give fair value for you three blokes here and it comes in under the cap, you have to give those three players an extra $100k, so we meet the rules of money we have to spend.

“Straight away that puts an unfair tax on that team because you are paying overs for players that aren’t worth it.”

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Some players stay at the Roosters for less money.Source: Supplied

Rothfield agreed that certain clubs pay overs for players, while others are allowed to keep superstars for less money than they could command elsewhere.

“When you are down the bottom of the ladder like the Tigers did with Isaiah Papali’i and Api Koroisau you pay well overs,” Rothfield said.

“And at the Roosters players like Joey Manu stay for unders.”

Kent believes the only way for clubs at the bottom of the ladder to rise is to invest in their juniors, so that they have some players in their squad that are value for money.

“There is a false economy in rugby league,” Kent said.

“I have said it from day one and the false economy is the fact that the lower clubs have to pay overs to get the good players there.

“That’s why the only way out of it. Some clubs and I am not going to name this club or certain clubs, but some clubs don’t get off the bottom of the ladder because they don’t invest in their juniors, so they get no value for money.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Nick Politis built a Roosters Academy to get players before they make the big time.Source: News Corp Australia

“Penrith turned around their entire fortune by just saying, you know what let’s go the long term plan of investing in our juniors.”

However, Tallis countered that the Roosters do not have a strong junior base, but are still title contenders most years.

“But the Roosters don’t have any juniors and they seem to win,” Tallis said.

But Kent countered that the Roosters target players before they command the big dollars and bring them to the club where they flourish into stars.

“The Roosters don’t have any juniors but what they do is that they are very good at cherrypicking 17 and 18-year-old kids who are coming through from other leagues,” Kent said.

“They got James Tedesco before he had played a representative game.”

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Rothfield explained the Roosters while they don’t have the juniors have invested in an Academy to usher in the new wave of NRL stars to the club.

“What happened with the Roosters in 2020 they went through Barcelona FC and we saw the Academy where Lionel Messi joined as a 14-year-old,” Rothfield said.

“Nick Politis and Trent Robinson went home and said, we are going to build our own Academy.

“They bought a block of units in Kensington and they housed 15 or 16 of the best footy players under 18 in Australia there.”



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