Off the Wall

Readers are probably aware of my views on NRL player and coach contracts - they are broken so frequently and so flagrantly they are increasingly meaningless.

The number of times clubs sack players mid-contract, or players try and sack clubs mid-contract, and clubs sack coaches mid season, renders the whole process generally useless.

But from time to time an interesting contract "dispute" arrives on the scene, and today we have one with the Dragons and Tigers in dispute over the future of Tim Moltzen.

This one could be very messy - unless the respective club CEO's can sort it out today, or soon.

The mid season signing of Moltzen by the Dragons (even though he had a year to run on his Tigers contract) was hardly a secret.

It is fascinating that only now do the Tigers seem to be objecting to it. Or at least that is how it looks on the surface.

But the Tigers are hardly alone in being at fault.

One assumes the Dragons were aware Moltzen had a year to run on his contract when they signed him to a three year deal mid-season.

One assumes it would be common practice for a club seeking to sign a player in a way that requires him to breach and existing contract to confirm with his existing club that it will grant him a release?

That does not appear to have happened in this case.

But is there more to this one that a simple contract dispute?

At the start of the 2011 season, Tim Moltzen seemed to be out of favour at the Tigers. But as the team's fortunes changed, so did Moltzen's. He was a key player in the Tigers surge into the finals.

But it gets a touch more suspicious.

The future of half Robert Lui at the club is in doubt. He is under suspension from the club for off field issues. He is likely to be shown the door.

That would create an opportunity for Moltzen of course!

The whole issue of contracts needs to be looked at by the Independent Commission.

They either need to be rigorously enforced, or abolished.

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