Reality Check for Rugby League
I reckon Souths’ boss Blake Solly is right on the money in saying the NRL will have to reduce the salary cap when the game resumes – and it will be the best thing that has happened for years.
If the current troubles have done anything positive it is to shine a spotlight on the fact that rugby league was living beyond its means.
While the bigger clubs might be able to afford to pay their players and football departments in telephone numbers, trying to keep pace was sending the others to the wall. The shutdown has given everyone involved in the game the chance to step back from the arms race and realise that a total reset is absolutely vital, and that means cutting costs right across the board.
Broadcasters and sponsors won’t be able to pay the same sorts of figures that they have in the past as the economy rebuilds and that will filter down to player salaries, particularly at the middle and lower levels.
The result? Players will have to find some sort of work to supplement their football earnings, just like they did before the game went full-time professional 25 years ago. It won’t mean a reduction in the standard of on-field entertainment – you only have to watch some of the old games from the 1980s and early 90s currently being replayed on TV to see that – but it will mean less time spent playing video games, on the punt, obsessing about what people say about them on Twitter or getting into trouble.
It could also see a reduction in mental health problems with players not totally absorbed with the game 24/7. Wayne Bennett once said that when he was a player “the best thing about Sunday was Monday” because he could go back to work at the Police Academy and forget about football for a while.
I reckon a dose of reality is just what the game needs.
What do YOU reckon?