Gasnier re-signs with Dragons in NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gasnier re-signs with Dragons in NRL

By David Beniuk 25/05/2006 07:31:51 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust says third party deals for Australian sports stars are here to stay.

Doust said Thursday's announcement that Test centre Mark Gasnier would stay with rugby league, partly because of the corporate payments packaged with his Dragons contract, were not unusual and had a place in the game.

"I don't think you could suggest that they're the only people that have done that," Doust said of Gasnier and Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns, who chose league over union in 2004.

"If you've got an elite player that's got a brand, that's important to individuals or organisations, you have a chance to make a package competitive.

"I think everybody would like to see them have an appropriate balanced part to play in the packaging of offers for these elite athletes."

Gasnier's deal reportedly involves four companies chipping in between $50,000 and $100,000 each for five years, topping up his Dragons salary of around $400,000 and earning him around $4 million by the end of 2011.

It comes after Johns was secured by a deal involving media work with the Nine Network and Wallaby Matt Giteau was tempted to fledgling Super 14 franchise, the Western Force, by its third-party clout.

Giteau's deal prompted Queensland Rugby Union chairman Peter Lewis to lash out at the code's player contracting process, labelling it "sleazy, flawed and dysfunctional".

There have been fears the development could impact the NRL's salary cap, with clubs rich in corporate contacts stockpiling playing talent.

Third party deals are not included in the salary cap if they come from companies other than club sponsors and involve the player in promotional work commensurate with the amount they're being paid.

They are also separate to each club's entitlement under the cap to pay two marquee players up to $50,000 a year each.

But Doust says there isn't enough money out there to throw at the non-elite end of the market.

"At the end of the day we've got to recognise it's easier said than done," he said.

The NRL agrees.

"The number of companies out there that would actually legitimately pay somebody large money for promotion, they're there but they're not an enormous number," NRL spokesman John Brady said.

"There's not an enormous number of players that could actually command it, you've got to be a marquee player.

"No-one gives away money for nothing. You've got to be a player who can command it and you've got to be doing something for the money that is commensurate with its value."

Brady said the deals don't constitute a threat to the salary cap's effectiveness.

"A threat's too hard a word, it's always been a factor that the salary cap's been aware of," he said.

"It's why the salary cap rules are as hard as they are.

"If the salary cap wasn't policed in the way that it was it could be a threat but given the way it's policed I don't think it is."

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