23 Jun 2010

International Wire Story

6:42 pm on 23 June 2010

bc-League-NRL 22-06 0521

RL:NRL boosts cap, clubs call for commission

League NRL Wrap

By David Beniuk

SYDNEY, June 22 AAP - The NRL will bolster its salary cap in 2011 in an attempt to ward off rival codes from poaching the game's best players.

NRL chief executives have backed a $100,000 lift in the cap as well as a doubling of the marquee player allowance to $300,000 above the proposed $4.2 million cap.

A range of other concessions have also been agreed to, including a commitment to further rewards for long-serving players and increased representative player payments.

The NRL is still reeling over the defection of stars Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau to AFL, while several others have switched to the lucrative European rugby union competitions.

"It will be a contributor to (keeping players in the NRL), it's not a fail safe against that but the more we can grow the pie, the more the players can share in the pie, the greater our chances of keeping all our players," NRL chief executive David Gallop told reporters on Tuesday.

"We were looking to do some of these things already but certainly there's a recognition from everyone that lifting the cap and providing some greater flexibility was probably something that we needed to be looking at."

Gallop said $1 million had been allocated to boost rep player payments.

The changes could see Mark Gasnier's deal with St George Illawarra confirmed within days, although Gallop said a contract was yet to be lodged.

Impatient club CEOs also fired a salvo across the bow of the Australian Rugby League, warning it to sort out its legal wrangling over the proposed independent commission to run the game.

The ARL has agreed to the formation of the commission but the Queensland Rugby League has threatened legal action.

"We need the arguments between the Queensland and NSW Rugby Leagues sorted out this week so that the process can get back on the rails," Gold Coast CEO Michael Searle said.

"The QRL in particular needs to understand that it is acting against the interests of every club in the league and the stated position of the ARL.

"The game needs a truly independent commission and not a model that puts power in the hands of appointees by the QRL.

"We need a commission in place after the grand final and in time for the start of the 2011 financial year for rugby league, which is November 1."

Gallop said the ARL had assured clubs there would be progress.

"They got a reassurance that they're looking at the issue urgently and that they hope to have it resolved in the next few days," he said.

In the wake of the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal, player agents will be required to sign declarations confirming lodged contracts include any form of payment to a player player or his family.

And clubs have undertaken to put a contact person in place for players to deal with racial vilification.

"It's not enough to simply point to what we are doing," Gallop said.

"The fact that Timana Tahu has had to face the issues that he has means that we need to do more."

AAP dpb/lc