Former players blast Super League salary cap after changes announced

The RFL have announced that the Super League salary cap will stay at £2.1 million next year, with the only change seeing the addition of a third marquee player available for clubs to sign for 2024 as long as they are federation trained.

It’s an announcement that will likely be met with a mixed response, with the salary cap a constant cause for debate among key rugby league figures and supporters in the UK.

The lack of growth in the cap over the last 20 years perhaps highlights the lack on growth of the game itself on these shores, with the NRL salary cap multiplying three times over the same period.

And two former Super League stars in Jon Wilkin and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have taken aim at the announcement with both agreeing the current salary cap structure is not working.

Wilkin and Jones-Buchanan were speaking as part of the Sky Sports commentary team ahead of the 2023 Magic Weekend in Newcastle, with Wilkin in particular not shy in sharing his disapproval of the news.

He said: “Yeah, well what I think of the salary cap, the reason we brought it in was to distribute talent evenly and to stop something like Wigan in the 90s happening again.

“I don’t see that as it’s worth, I think all this salary cap announcement will do is allow the clubs that have means to spend more money, creating a bigger distance between the top and the bottom.

“Now I’m not sure if the cap’s working out. I think if you’re being honest, the salary cap is just not working in its current structure. It’s not working and it needs changing.”

Jones-Buchanan added: “If we want to keep the George Williams, Jack Welsbys, Harry Newmans of this world in the British game, then we need to be able to find the finances to keep them here.

“And also we need to be able to bring talent in, players like Bevan French and Jai Field being have been outstanding and when they come to Newcastle like today, I can want to watch them.

“We need to be able to allow the clubs who have the money to spend, to spend it and make the competition more exciting.”