This was always going to happen…
Last year at an NRL CEO’s meeting concerns were raised that the upcoming dramatic rise that was about to occur in the salary cap would see the player market skewed and teams mismanaging their salary cap. There wasn’t much the NRL could do about this although they did look at giving every player in the game a bonus rather than leaving it up to clubs. At the end of the day, NRL clubs had to make their own decisions and not go out and spend all of their new salary cap space on rubbish.
So far this season we have already seen a few clubs making some crazy decisions.
The mad rush for Johnathan Thurston saw a 30 year old out of form halfback become the highest paid player in the game. Thurston re-signed with the North Queensland Cowboys but there were plenty of teams ready pull the trigger on that deal.
As one of those teams, the Penrith Panthers didn’t fill me with any confidence. After missing out on the opportunity to pay Thurston all the money they could find, they went out and signed Brent Kite from the manly Sea Eagles and then back that up with what is to date, their star signing going into the 2014 season. Illawarra Cutters star playmaker Jamie Soward.
The Wests Tigers have made some special recruitement moves in recent seasons but the decision to sign 31 year old winger Pat Richards from Wigan has to rate up there as one of their worst. Forget that Richards has struggled with injuries over the last few season, the last thing the Tigers need to worry about are their wingers! They need everything else!
The Newcastle Knights signing Craig Gower just made Newcastle Knights fans sick. Like their team wasn’t old enough already!
The Parramatta Eels have tried to out do everyone. After missing out on Israel Folau earlier in the year they went out and signed two English players in Lee Mossip and Gareth Hock. Hock, who previously sat out two seasons due to a drugs ban, and who this year has been loaned out to the Widnes Vikings because Wigan had already had enough of his bullshit, is already trying to get out of his contract. The Eels have said they are working through his issues. It makes you wonder why they are so keen to bring his issues to the club!
It wasn’t the worst move they have made though as, on the eve of State Of Origin one, the Eels announced the names of 12 players they would not be re-signing for next year. This was nothing short of a brilliant motivational tool, and while most people thought of the big hole all of these players would leave in the side, I wondered where they were going to find the players to fill this hole with!
They had that sorted though…
There are no rumours the Eels are looking to sign Adam Blair from the Wests Tigers. Blair’s form over recent season has been terrible, and the Wests Tigers just want rid of him and his massive contract. The problem was that no other team was stupid enough to even thinking of bringing Blair and his huge contract on board. That was, until the Eels came knocking!
I haven’t even mentioned the million dollar contract the New Zealand Warriors have on the table for Sam Tomkins, or the fact that no team seems willing to reach into their pockets and sign Israel Folau just yet.
Rugby League is a sport with a history of terrible mismanagement. Administrators have made so many stupid decisions over the years and it looks like that in 2013, that tradition continues.
The old saying of “They have more dollars than sense” rings true right now. NRL clubs have money to spend and like over eager fantasy Rugby League team managers, they are at the point where they will spend that money on anything they can find.