Going into the 2013 NRL season, every team knew what the salary cap rules were. I therefore find it hard to feel any sympathy for any club that only gets to round 13 and starts to have issues with who it can and can not bring into first grade due to salary cap constraints.
That is the issue at the Penrith Panthers right now after the NRL informed the club they could potentially breach salary cap rules by playing young fullback Matthew Moylan in any more first grade games this season. This issue will also effect Travis Robinson and means that two of Penrith in form players will not be able to be used in first grade for the rest of the season.
Moylan in particular will be effected by this.
Over the last few weeks Moylan has cemented himself at Penriths number one fullback. From his very first NRL game he just looked like he belonged in first grade. When Moylan continued that form, and actually got better, Panthers fans stopped worrying about the fullback position. We had our fullback.
Not being able to play first grade for the rest of the season has the potential to effect Moylans development as a player, and that is unforgivable! If the Panthers expect to start contending for the NRL title in future seasons, having a key player lose half a season of potential development is a blow to those hopes.
I feel really sorry for Moylan, who now had to take an enforced step backwards in his career that will cost him money, not just this season, but in the future as certain incentives built into his salary can now not kick in.
It is easy to claim the salary cap rules are the problem, but these are rules that have been in for years. It is all well and good to say the second tier salary cap should be scapped, but as soon as that happens you will see players stockpiling talent and using the lack of a second tier cap to get around the NRL’s first grade salary cap.
Of course, injuries have hit the Panthers hard this season, but they have also hit other teams. Penrith are not the only team going through a rebuilding phase and needing to bring in new players to first grade. So why have Penrith already allowed themselves to get to the point where the club has salary cap issues that most other teams don’t have? At some point in the Panthers salary cap management, obviously something has gone wrong!
We have the NRL salary cap rules in place for a very good reason. The way clubs manage their salary cap is different from club to club. What every Penrith plans were for the 2013 season in terms of their salary cap management were, they’ve obviously been the wrong plans to have. The Panthers should not have got to the point where in round 13 they are getting noticed from the NRL telling them they are about to breach salary cap rules.
The NRL, the Rugby League Players Association and the 16 clubs that make up the National Rugby League competition all agreed to the salary cap rules we have in place for the 2013 season. For any clubs to now claim those rules are unfair as they start to restrict their ability to select a first grade team is too little too late.
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
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