Super League’s salary cap is set to fall further behind the NRL’s with the competition set to lose its final edge over its Australian counterpart.
Already the spending power of NRL clubs in terms of the salary cap dwarfs what we see in Super League and the adding of a third federation trained marquee player, although a great development, will do little to counteract that.
The one edge the Super League salary cap did have over that of the NRL was the fact that it gives incentive to clubs to sign rugby union players.
The best example of this was when Leeds signed Kyle Eastmond. Though the signing ultimately failed, from a business point of view it made a lot of sense.
This is because Leeds had suffered sudden injuries in their spine on the eve of the 2021 season but by signing Eastmond he didn’t show up on their salary cap for the first year of his deal and in his second only 50% of his wage would appear so it was essentially a signing that wouldn’t count on the cap.
The Rhinos could be set to do the same again with the arrival of Lewis Boyce on trial. He previously played for Harlequins and Bath in rugby union.
However, the NRL are set to copy Super League by introducing their own salary cap relief for signing rugby union players which will only give them more spending power and create a wider gap between the NRL and Super League.
Parramatta’s general manager of football Mark O’Neill said the move to ratify salary cap relief for cross-code players would help neutralise the ‘threat’ of any more rugby raids on NRL talent.
“We have an attractive game. It’s worth exploring to make sure our game stays as strong as it possibly can be,” O’Neill said to the Daily Telegraph.
“I think it’s definitely a threat and we need to consider that accordingly. There’s a level of threat that comes with it, the level of threat at the moment might be low now that Suaalii is gone and there doesn’t appear to be anyone following but that will change from time to time and the threat will increase.
“I do support any innovative way and ideas that improve this scenario for NRL clubs.”