Cap increase proposal not enough: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cap increase proposal not enough: Smith

By Steve Jancetic 06/05/2010 04:51:29 PM Comments (0)

Reports of a proposed $50,000 increase to NRL salary caps have bemused players and officials, with Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith saying it would do little to stop the likes of Israel Folau leaving the game.

Details emerged on Thursday that the NRL was looking at funding a $3 million rescue package to help keep the game's stars from being poached by rival codes.

The plan is said to be one of a range of ideas being considered by the NRL in the wake of this week's meeting of the league's chief executives, with a final decision to be made once CEOs have submitted their reports on May 21.

But while the proposed $3 million offer may sound impressive, it would only lead to a salary cap increase of $50,000 on the current levels of $4.1 million, while representative payments - which currently stand at $6000 for a Test and $12,500 for an Origin appearance - would also likely be increased.

Smith, whose NRL club Melbourne was recently caught rorting the salary cap by $1.7 million over the last five years, was stunned when told of the proposal during a press conference ahead of Friday night's trans-Tasman Test between Australia and New Zealand at AAMI Park.

"Increasing the cap by $50,000? What will that buy you, a 17-year-old?" a bewildered Smith said.

Players association boss David Garnsey, while questioning the validity of the report, said the proposal was nowhere near satisfactory.

"It's a drop in the ocean and it's not enough," Garnsey told AAP.

Told Smith had laughed off the proposal, Garnsey said: "I can understand why he would do that."

With the Storm paying the price for their inability to manage its salary cap legally, Smith made an impassioned plea for administrators to act quickly in addressing the amount of money on offer to players.

As captain and one of the Storm's highest paid players, Smith has become the face of the salary cap scandal, but he is now hoping the situation can become a catalyst for change.

While Folau is eyeing offers from rugby union and the AFL, some of the Storm's biggest stars are also in the sights of rival codes as the club looks to restructure its playing roster in a bid to get under the salary cap.

Smith is sick of seeing top shelf talent walk away from the game, rejecting talk the NRL had the ability to generate new superstars every time a player joined a rival code.

"Every year you hear people say that another young bloke will come up or there's always young blokes coming through, but I haven't seen that happen in Sonny Bill's case," Smith said in reference to the 2007 defection of Sonny Bill Williams.

"Although we've got some good centres, I haven't seen a guy play like (Mark) Gasnier and at the moment I don't think there's anyone coming through like an Israel Folau.

"They're huge losses to our game and we need to do something about it.

"I've heard over the last couple of days about rep payments being increased, the salary cap being increased, all these different things.

"I don't know what we have to do but we have to do something.

"It needs to be looked at and it needs to be looked at quickly - we can't keep letting these superstars of our game go."

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