A salary caps job is to do two things.
First and foremost, its designed to stop clubs spending more than they can afford. When the salary cap has not been in effect in sports, you see clubs falling over chasing dreams they simply can not afford.
The second thing a salary cap does is even out a competition and help spread talent around. This is the one that has the biggest effect on fans.
A more even competition with more teams being in with a shot at winning the title gives more fans hope. The salary cap allows fans whose team is having a bad year know their pain will be short term. We all know that with more teams having a shot at winning, you get bigger crowds across the competition.
So with that in mind, two recent moves proved to me that the Super League salary cap is now completely ineffective and that the Rugby Football League either needs to tighten up its policing of the cap, or simply scrap it all together.
When Lee Smith embarrassingly decided to walk away from his “Challenge” of playing Rugby Union after just a couple of months, he scampered straight back to the Super League champions, the Leeds Rhinos.
He was training with the Rhinos hours after securing his release from his Rugby Union club.
In any competition with a salary cap in place, the top teams lose players to lower places clubs. The Champions, they ALWAYS lose players as the value of their entire lineup is raised with winning experience and championship winning form.
Leeds only really lost Smith, and simply signed him back a few months later, no questions asked.
Even if you account for the fact that Smith would take less just to get back to Leeds, the whole thing stinks.
Then we have news today that reigning Super League Man Of Steel award winner Brett Hodgson will leave the Huddersfield Giants at the end of the 2010 season. Hodgson is the best player in Super League and has helped make a small club like Huddersfield a contender.
The word is that Hodgson will leave Huddersfield to go to, of all teams, the Warrington Wolves.
Now, when you look at all the buying of players the Wolves have done in recent years, they don’t use financial experts to get under the salary cap, they would have to be using wizards and pixie dust.
It was there for all to see in its worst form when the Wolves signed young halfback Richie Myler from the struggling Salford Reds. Now you could suggest that Myler, like the vast majority of English players, just wanted to walk into a winning side and would take less money for the privileged.
That over looks the fact how desperately Salford wanted to hold onto him. How they wanted to make him their star player. You can be sure, they would have been willing to pay very big money to make sure that happened.
Myler ended up at Warrington anyway.
Once again, if Hodgson leaves Huddersfield and moves to Warrington, we are seeing the rich take from the poor. The complete opposite that should be happening in a competition with a working salary cap.
Something is very wrong. Maybe the salary cap level is way too high, maybe teams lower down the ladder are simply not able to spend anywhere near the current cap level. What ever the cap, some major changes need to be made because right now the big teams in Super League don’t seem to be bound by a spending limit what so ever.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
Feb 21, 2020 0