Off the Wall

The NRL must surely have been hoping that the announcement of the Origin teams would have taken the headlines away from the Melbourne Storm salary cap issue.

Well it has not taken long for its hopes to be dashed.

The Storm's Cameron Smith has used his selection in the Maroons team to give very public, and unqualified, backing to the move by independent Storm Directors to launch a legal challenge to the penalties the NRL handed out to the Storm for serious salary cap breaches.

And he was backed up with almost equal vigour by team mate Greg Inglis.

Smith's comments will embarrass the Storm's owners because he claims the whole team backs the court challenge - and as Storm captain he would know.

The matter will be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court, and given that one of the penalties being challenged is the inability of the Storm to earn points for match wins for the rest of the 2010 season, the directors will be seeking a speedy hearing.

And that might mean the saga is aired in the courts smack bang in the middle of the Origin series!

The issue of salary cap issues being raised in court cases is not just confined to the Melbourne Storm.

The Sydney Morning Herald's Roy Masters has recently drawn attention to an upcoming corruption trial in Brisbane involving mining magnate, Ken Talbot, who is alleged to have made illegal payments to a state government minister.

That one won't just be interesting political writers. The court press gallery will also need to provide room for sports reporters.

Rugby League week today reveals that the Brisbane Broncos have written to all players and sponsors, including the Thoroughbreds group, warning them against doing private deals in wake of the storm salary cap saga.

One of the driving forces behind the Thoroughbreds during the Wayne Bennett era at the Broncos was one Ken Talbot.

It is not a matter of "watch this space" but one of "watch this court case".

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