Earlier this year on Twitter Phil Gould was answering questions put to him by Penrith Panthers fans and tried his best to convey the terrible position the clubs previous management had left the club in in regards to the salary cap.
Gould didn’t beat around the bush either. He basically said that the club was struggling just to stay under the salary cap, that the Panthers were not really in a position to sign any big names, and that the majority of his focus would on the long term, rather than the short term.
It was refreshing to have a club official being completely honest about where the club is at right now.
As the Panthers season slowly descended into a fight to avoid the wooden spoon, and with Michael Jennings being dropped to reserve grade, I blew up on Twitter.
My argument was that Jennings wasn’t in the best form, but he had plenty of mates out there in this Panthers side. I thought is was a disgrace that one of our top two players has been dropped from a first grade team that looks like a NSW Cup side at the moment.
See, Michael Jennings is reported to be on around $600,000 per season with the Panthers, which would make him one of the top five paid players in the game. I have no problem with how much he is earning, he is really the only game breaker we have in the team. I’ll cop spending that much on Jennings.
It would be easy to look at it from a different point of view that, if the Panthers could force him from the club, sacking him for instance, that would free up $600,000 under the salary cap and help ease the issues the club was facing.
I also blew up being I felt that the club should be blooding a lot more youngsters than it has so far. At the time, I didn’t realize just how bad the clubs salary capo situation was this season.
Basically the Panthers are at the cap limit for their second tier players. This means that they can not blood any more youngsters into first grade without going over the salary cap and copping a salary cap penalties, something the club really can not afford.
The club is working with the leagues salary cap auditor to try and manage their lineups while not breaking any salary cap rules, but the clubs hands are tied to a certain extent by terrible contracts signed by the clubs previous administrator.
So my rant about blooding youngster, I felt bad about it!
I have got no doubt that Phil Gould is working his arse off to try and turn all of this around. I have no doubt he was horrified when he first looked at the clubs books when he took over as the clubs General Manager. He has publicly stated that the club can no do much until 2015, which for a fan like me, is devastating.
It makes you think about the previous administration. I don’t want to write what I feel like writing about them, because I wouldn’t want to give them any reason to sue me, but I think you can probably guess the epic rant I would love to go on about all those involved…
I have said all year that Panthers fans need to accept that things are going to get worse before they get better, but to think that we can’t even bring youngsters into first grade without breaking the cap, it basically stops us from tapping into out greatest resource.
When you look at how well Blake Austin has played so far this year you can see that the clubs junior base can produce very good talent. Its just unfortunate it will not be able to come through as quick as fans would like thanks to the clubs previous administrator.
Its tough being a Panthers fan…
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