Defending The Brisbane Broncos

In 2010 the Rugby League media in Australia has gone bat shit crazy.

Between the formation of the Independent Commission, the Melbourne Storm Salary Cap saga, players demanding higher wages and Greg Inglis deciding he wants to live in Brisbane, the media has basically had a nervous breakdown in this part of the world.

You have the Sydney Morning Herald pointing the finger at News Limited, News Limited hitting back with counter claims, sensationalized rubbish, made up stories and the agendas, wow, they are flowing faster than the NRL’s female fan base when Matt Coopers junk was exposed in a game last weekend!

Standing back and watching this mess unfold, I can only just shake my head and wonder how some people can honestly put their name to such rubbish and then think their reputations will not be harmed by it.

In the aftermath of the Melbourne Storm salary cap breach, there was a push to raise the salary cap. I said that this would eventually help the Storm keep most of its side in tact, and its just about done that.

The NRL came under pressure from players, clubs and the media to relax rules regarding third party sponsors and the added bonuses that a player could receive outside of just hard currency.

What we ended up with was a situation where the Melbourne Storm had to let go at least one of their top of the line players. Because of the rise in the salary cap and third party sponsorship red tape, every single club in the NRL bar Melbourne had a tidy little war chest it could spend under the cap to go out and buy some pretty handy players.

Now, some teams decided they were not going to wait on what happened with the Storm and sorted their 2010 roster ahead of everyone else.

The St George/Illawarra Dragons managed to get Mark Gansier, the Penrith Panthers managed to basically lock up all but a couple of the players in their side to long term deals, the North Queensland Cowboys made some big signings and the Sydney Roosters grabbed a few more players here and there.

For the most part though you had a lot of teams with a lot of money still to spend.

Then, the bombshell. Greg Inglis wants to move to Brisbane because his girlfriend has a job offer up there.

Now you have to remember here that Greg Inglis decided to wanted to live in Brisbane. He held talks with the Broncos and Titans, but every other club was told not to bother talking to him because he wanted to live in Brisbane.

It took a while but with the loss of Israel Folau for next season, the rise of the salary cap and the relaxation of rules that govern third party sponsors, the Brisbane Broncos managed to get the best center in the game to play for them.

Then, all hell broke lose!

Fairfax Papers starting to print articles from unnamed NRL CEO’s saying it was some sort of miracle the Broncos could fit Inglis under the cap. The Broncos blew up at the Sydney media as it stirred up all those stupid Queensland feelings that Sydney was out to get them.

There were suggestions that News Limited had done the dirty, owning both the Storm and Broncos, and they wanted to weaken one side to make the other stronger.

News Limited meanwhile spent the entire week basically getting their journalists to try and convince people that the deal was all above board and they had done no wrong.

I’m sitting back, watching all of this, and I’m wondering how both sides can honestly believe their own bullshit?

Is It Good For The Game That Greg Inglis Is Now A Bronco?
Is Greg Inglis’ move from the Storm to the Broncos a good thing for the game? No, its not.

Nothing against the Broncos here at all but the fact remains that you had one club that was by far and away better than everyone else because they broke the salary cap. At the other end of the scale you have a few sides that are desperate for talent.

In an ideal world, Inglis would have gone to the worst club in the competition. The team that needed talent more than any other, and lets face it, thats the Cronulla Sharks.

Getting Inglis would have been a massive boost for the Sharks, it would have helped them secure more sponsorship and maybe helped turn things around for them financially.

In an ideal world, that is what the salary cap would have done. Taken from the strong and given to the weak.

Is Brisbane Deal Illegal?
I really don’t think it is at all.

Israel Folau was on huge money, and he is off the Broncos books next year. Couple that with the rise in the cap and third party payments and I can see how it works.

The thing you have to realize with the Broncos is that, the vast majority of their very young side will be on what amounts to being the first contract of their NRL careers. They have young guys right now who are playing at an amazing level who will be earning very little compared to their actual market value.

These young players will get their pay day when their contracts come up, and chances are, the Broncos will lose a lot of very good young players over the next few years because of the salary cap.

However for now, the Broncos are in a rare zone where you have a core of veteran players surrounded by a team of very cheap young stars who are playing well above their salary scale.

In modern day sport, its teams that jag this butter zone that win titles.

The Broncos Monopoly In Brisbane
Yes, the Broncos have it good up there in Brisbane. Two million die hard Rugby League fans all to themselves while Sydney has Four million people but caters for 9 NRL clubs who are in a dog fight for fans, sponsorship money and players.

Cry me a fucking river Sydney!

I’m a Panthers fan based in Sydney, and I think this whinging by a handful of media types about poor old Sydney is a complete joke!

If the Broncos have it so good up there and the poor old Sydney clubs are battling so hard, well then, move your club to Brisbane!

I’ve said a number of times on this site, if you took the Sharks and said next year they will be based in Brisbane, by Christmas the Sharks would be one of the most valuable teams in the NRL. Brisbane sponsors would jump on board, they would have a foot in the door in regards to getting Queensland talent, they would play out of the best stadium in the world at Suncorp, hell, its not a stretch to suggest that Inglis would have been a Brisbane Shark next year has the club decided to make a move early enough!

The Broncos had the entire state to themselves. Then they had to only share it with the Cowboys, but they had all of South East Queensland to themselves. Then the Tiatns come in and…..damn it, the Broncos have all of Sydney to themselves and I hate them, I want them to die!

Sorry about that, slipped into Phil Gould mode for a second.

Why Did No One Else Offer Inglis A Contract?
Inglis wanted to go to Brisbane, thats great. Word was his managed didn’t listen to offers from anyone else.

Here is what I don’t understand.

If the likes of say the Cronulla Sharks are spending the same as the Brisbane Broncos on playing talent, I’m a monkeys uncle! You would think the Sharks should have a huge amount of salary cap space available, especially once the cap was raised for next year.

So if they wanted a player like Inglis, why wouldn’t they make an offer he couldn’t refuse?

If Inglis is on say $600,000 all up at the Broncos next year, thats great. If the Sharks offer him say $800,000, do you think Brisbane remains the only option for Inglis?

No way!

So why didn’t the Sharks or other clubs throw that sort of money around?

Agendas Are Running Hot
The fact is that Inglis wanted to move to Brisbane and no one come up with a deal good enough to make him decide otherwise.

The Broncos are one of the best run clubs in the competition and used of their natural resources to get together a good deal for the best center in the game.

While other clubs over spend on players that don’t produce the results, on or off the field, or chase rugby union players of all things, the Broncos were just getting the job done.

Lets face it, the Broncos pulled off a great signing. Well done to them.


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