Off the Wall

The year plus-long scandal over the salary cap rort by the Melbourne Storm might not have ended quietly with the NRL's report into the whole issue released yesterday.

It told us little we did not already know, and, in the end the blame is being lumped on the former CEO, Brian "Wally" Waldron, with the rather meaningless move not to allow him to hold any office in an NRL club for ever.

I cannot see any club being remotely interested in signing him...but there is one issue that is going to cause a serious problem for the Roosters.

Their recruitment manager, Peter O'Sullivan, is highly regarded, but he is heavily criticised in the report for his role working with Waldron at the Storm.

The Roosters last night gave O'Sullivan its total backing, notwithstanding the report's finding.

Today David Gallop has sent the Roosters a "please explain". He expects the club to discuss O'Sullivan's future with him, and he is less than happy with their behaviour.

This again raises the question as to where the Roosters see their status in the game - first amongst equals perhaps? Or just simply above the rest?

There are others who have questions to answer, most notably four player managers. They will have their day before the player manager accreditation tribunal soon.

The real beneficiaries from the $3 million plus salary cap rort were a number of Storm players. They benefited from cash and other benefits outside the salary cap.

But they have been totally exhonorated - apparently because they were "unaware" they were getting payments above and beyond what they were getting under the salary cap.

Now it may well be that many NRL players are great footballers but not the sharpest blades in the set when it comes to their finances.

But is it not stretching the bow just a shade too much to suggest players who were getting illegal six figure payments would not have at the very least questioned them? Apparently not!

The majority of Storm players who did not benefit, and all Storm fans, are entitled to closure.

The release of the report means closure is imminent.

But one lingering doubt must remain - is the Storm the only club that has substantially abused the salary cap provisions in recent years, or even doing so currently?

We are assured there are none, or at least none are known - but given the extent of the Storm rort, and the time it took to uncover (or stumble over) it, can we be sure of that?

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