NRL cap claims another victim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL cap claims another victim

By Brent Read 21/08/2003 10:27:24 PM Comments (0)

The National Rugby League's salary cap claimed another victim - only this time it was a 21-year-old rookie from St George Illawarra who was less than 48 hours away from making his first grade debut.

A day after the Sydney Roosters announced they were releasing Chris Walker due to salary cap constraints, the Dragons were forced to pull the plug on Ryan Powell's first grade debut after being told they risked breaching the salary cap if the Illawarra junior played in the NRL.

Coach Nathan Brown had named Powell on the interchange bench for the Dragons' NRL clash with the Melbourne Storm at WIN Stadium on Friday night.

But the 21-year-old was robbed of a dream NRL debut when he was sent back to Premier League.

The Dragons were in danger of contravening their "second tier" salary cap - a $300,000 limit for players not in the club's top 25 - and a fine if Howell played first grade this season.

The Illawarra junior, who took the week off work to prepare for the game, will now have to wait until next year to make his NRL debut.

St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust confirmed the club had spoken to NRL salary cap chief Ian Schubert and chief executive David Gallop about the issue and was left with little choice but to remove Powell from the first grade squad.

"The position of the NRL is that they have spoken to three other clubs that have had similar circumstances during the year," Doust said.

"It's just the way we are with the regulations of the cap.

"Those regulations, we need to abide by them."

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