reject 'Club Australia'

A meeting of NRL CEO?s have seen fourteen of the fifteen clubs oppose the Broncos push for an introduction of a ?Club Australia? style of centralised payment system. The Broncos were wanted it to be modeled on the ?Club GB? system in the United Kingdom, where a handful of the top players received bonus payments from the RFL so the players stayed with Rugby League instead of jumping ship.

However with the opposition, headed by Denis Fitzgerald, the other National Rugby League all unanimously agreed that they did not want to be involved in a bidding war with other sports. The NRL clubs also realised that whilst Union could offer a handful of players large figures, the financial problems the ARU was facing as well as them only having three professional clubs would mean that the number of opportunities for the group to continue doing so was very limited.

Fitzgerald commented that the money would be better spent developing players of the future, than keeping one or two players and pushing up salaries as a whole, a situation that could cripple many clubs.

The decision by the NRL clubs is a very sensible one, and whilst a centralised payment system has its advantages for representative games, overall its financial negatives are something that the sport does not need, especially when player salaries are only beginning to settle down now.