Dane Eldridge – Now That Israel Is back, God Help Ian Schubert

Ian Schubert, the NRL’s salary cap chaperone, has had some devilishly intricate contracts to review over the years.

However, there is one from a different kettle of fish and loaves that stretches his abilities more than most, and with Israel Folau’s return to the land of league imminent, he’s about to tussle with its particulars once again.

With the devout church-goer set to join his fellow spiritual brothers Jarryd Hayne and Tim Mannah at Parramatta, and with Will Hopoate on board in 2014 after two years with the good book, there’s going to be a high dose of divinity in the ranks at the Eels in coming seasons.

So with all of this extra assistance from upstairs sitting on Ricky Stuart’s playing list, it’s only natural to ask the question: how does Schubert assess the Son of God’s value on an NRL club payroll?

I don’t envy the man’s position as the circumstances of the deals seem highly unorthodox.

Jesus is an ever-present force on the football field, yet impossible to quantify on the stats sheet. In short, he’s a real nightmare for the Khoder Nassers and David Riolos of Heaven to put a ballpark price on, and even worse for the Cap Cop to police.

His employment by players from all teams means defining his role and cost is hardly your usual straightforward pact between employer and employee. The complex structure of his portfolio- a genuine saintly spider-web encompassing numerous clubs housing his various devotees- ensures all parties at the negotiation table are usually more flummoxed than forceful.

The super-popular Nazareth product is on strength and conditioning with one club on Mondays, video review on Wednesdays and as for game days?

Only God knows.

It’s a blanket approach to providing services that inspired the Andrew Johns coaching services model. Don’t tie yourself to any one team and get yourself a wardrobe full of different training singlets.

To those writing his bible verses on their wrist tape, his services are so widespread, interminable and bankable that I wouldn’t be surprised if Cronulla are still apportioning some of their cap space to his bank account to cover for the mountains of work he did in the Shire when Jason Stevens was playing.

As for supervising these proceedings, it just seems like too much to deal with for one mere mortal like the humble Schubert.

How must he feel when another version of one of the Messiah’s agreements- loaded like Noah’s ark with celestial intangibles and immeasurable riders- lands on the desk again? What is considered assessable?

Is a club’s cap hit for every player who crosses themselves? Are tattoos of the crucifix on a prop’s bicep waived or considered a bona fide third party arrangement?

And to think this all has to be decoded by a former first-grader who has inadvertently allowed his fair share of detailed agreements through to the keeper in the past. He must be using the man’s name in vain repeatedly.

He better have his best abacus and pencil ready, as Parramatta’s sacred squad- and the bearded chap wearing Skins and holding the tackle bags- is probably going to drive him to the holy water.

Let us pray. For Ian.

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