Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Debt to Clubs Forgotten

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Debt to Clubs Forgotten

Article excerpt

THE player payment issue relating principally to the elite in rugby league is becoming a tad boring.

Some players have vented their frustration, even issuing idle threats, while ex-players and officials have expressed annoyance that our game is not keeping pace with other football codes in respect of remuneration. Even the AFL fraternity, courtesy of icons Leigh Matthews, Kevin Sheedy and James Hird, weighed in with their two bob's worth in Melbourne newspapers over the

weekend.

I concur that rep payments should be increased. The percentage paid to players does seem somewhat flawed when the entertainers for the State of Origin bonanza, for instance, are paid just $12,500 per match.

Although not aware of what the Origin money pit returns to the NRL partnership, I suggest the $1.25 million in match fees represents a minor percentage.

In a bid to stop our biggest stars deserting the game, Gorden Tallis has suggested Origin payments be tripled. Again, I have no issue with that.

But my concern is that too much emphasis in our season-long calendar is already placed on the Origin series. It irks me no end when the return of injured players is spoken about in terms of the Origin series, as is the case at the moment with Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Ben Hannant, Mitchell Pearce and Josh Morris.

No mention is ever made of the obligation of these blokes to their clubs, which pay the bulk of their wages and continue to do when they are on the injured list.

I have said ad infinitum that I have no answer to the salary cap/ player payment issue, but if the rate of pay for Origins is tripled and the salary cap stays the same, I have a fair idea where some of our stars will be placing their future priorities.

I WAS in Melbourne last weekend to witness two of the better performances this season from veteran skipper Darren Lockyer.

While the Anzac Test was a ho-hum affair played in very ordinary conditions, Lockyer was the consummate professional in everything he did on the night. He effortlessly guided his country to yet another victory, albeit unspectacular. …

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