Huge news this week coming from Rugby League in the UK & France is that the salary cap is set to rise over the next 3 seasons. The current salary cap sits at a paltry £1.825m – put this alongside the salary cap in the NRL and the difference is rather astounding. The NRL currently has a salary cap of $7m (AUD) – if you convert this using up-to-date exchange rates it equates to roughly £4.2m – a difference of £2.375m.
The argument within the UK game is that we can no longer attract, nor hold top players within the sport due to the artificial restriction of wages. The problem in the Super League has always been the same, if the salary cap rises teams that don’t have a ‘sugar daddy’ so to speak, will not have the ability to compete at the top. If this happens, there is a good chance that the days of teams such as Castleford dominating the league could, once again, disappear.
On the contrary, Leeds – my team and the most successful team of the Super League era have never tried to hide the fact that they don’t pay as much as they could, or even potentially should to their players. Yet Leeds have consistently (ignoring 2016, that year never happened, honest…) been at the top of the game since the early years of the Super League so is this a true fact or a ‘fact’ that people use to try and argue against a salary cap rise?
My personal opinion is that we don’t want to go back to an era where one team is constantly at the top because they throw millions at their team, buy up the best talent and resources and make it essentially impossible for a good competition. However, I also think given the wars these players put themselves through they deserve to be compensated fairly for that.
Also announced was that of a second ‘marquee player’ – as it stands there are currently 2 ‘marquee players’ within the Super League therefore I’m not entirely sure how useful this will be overall – don’t get me wrong, it would be brilliant to see top players coming over to the UK / France to ply their trade but it’s not only the financial dealings that make this unlikely but also the weather and lifestyle change can play a huge part. This obviously isn’t the only use of the marquee player rule, it can also be given to top Super League players in an attempt to keep them from leaving the game and being enticed by the NRL or even, dare I say it, Rugby Union. This in my eyes is a much more effective use of the rule and there are numerous players I can think of that would be worthy of the marquee slot within their respective teams.
Whilst we’re on the topic of Rugby League finances – with a salary cap increase comes more of a demand for a reserve side, it’s no surprise that the top 4 teams in Super League last season all run a reserve team. With a salary cap increase on the horizon this should become a mandatory requirement for all teams in the top division.
What are your thoughts on the salary cap raise? Tell us below!