Off the Wall

It was inevitable the media would talk about a possible "player strike" over the salary cap and related issues.

But that is almost certainly as far as it will go - a media story.

The credibility of the proposal got off to a bad start when the Storm's Cameron Smith was named as its chief proponent. A player who is clearly under scrutiny over the salary cap rort at the Melbourne Storm is not really the best advocate for a strike over the issue!

There won't be a strike in my view because the players are far from united over the whole issue. Some believe the Storm have been penalised too harshly, some believe the penalty is about right and the majority are probably breathing a sigh of relief the Storm are out of premiership contention.

The whole issue of the salary cap and player payments is out there in the open, and that is not a bad thing.

But if the players want the support and sympathy of fans then strike action won't deliver it.

Rugby league began as a working class game, and while times have changed it continues to be supported by what are called "working families".

And "working families" struggling with the growing burden of higher interest rates, and massive hikes in power prices and other charges, also struggle to understand why players earning $300,000 a year or more should be complaining.

And why players like Jarryd Hayne who earn even more than $300,000 a year complain about only receiving four free tickets to Friday's night's test match!

A players strike would probably have only one outcome - real increases in the salary cap would just be that much further away.

The issue which the game's administrators can address now is the payments to test and origin players.

It is unfair to target David Gallop over the representative match payments issue. It is not his responsibility.

The Australian Rugby League, the New South Wales Rugby League, and the Queensland Rugby League, manage test matches and the origin series. And they manage payments to players.

Whereas the NRL has limited financial reserves, the ARL and the QRL are in no such predicament.

Paying representative players more would go some way to addressing the need to keep the best players in the game as such payments wouldn't impact on the salary cap.

But, as I have written more than once in the past, any meaningful increase in the salary cap is wholly dependent on the new television agreement boosting revenue - and that remains almost three years  away.

For the time being, the "elite" players need to lay off David Gallop and switch their focus to the ARL and the QRL. It would be interesting to know how many ARL/NSWRL/QRL officials, and wives attended the Melbourne test at the expense of the game?

And switch their focus to demanding that the independent commission be set up now!

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