Cap concessions could deliver Gasnier - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cap concessions could deliver Gasnier

By Steve Jancetic 02/06/2010 07:20:20 PM Comments (0)

Beefed-up salary cap concessions for long-serving players could be the magic wand which delivers Mark Gasnier back to St George Illawarra and the NRL.

The Dragons are deep in negotiations with their former skipper on a deal which would see the 28-year-old resume his rugby league career following an 18-month hiatus which included a stint in French rugby union.

Confirmation of Gasnier's return would be a major boost for the NRL following Israel Folau's defection to the AFL this week.

The sticking point in Gasnier's proposed $1.4 million three-year deal appears to be the formalisation of third party deals for the final two years of the contract, but it is believed the NRL is considering tripling the current $100,000 salary cap extension for long-serving players from next season.

The increase is one of several proposals being considered by the NRL as it looks to revamp the salary cap, but having an extra $200,000 a season to work with could be just the tonic to get Gasnier back in the `red V'.

"Extending the concessions for long-serving players has a lot of merit and that's a way of lifting the cap without necessarily widening the gap between the cap and the grant," NRL chief executive David Gallop said on Wednesday.

"Some recognition that loyalty should be rewarded is the reason why the current concession exists and if you extend it, I think fans are looking for some recognition for long serving players.

"No decision's been made on the extent to which either the cap or the grant will go up but we need to be conscious of the goal of closing the gap rather than widening it and also allowing enough money to be left over to increase rep payments which I think is something everyone supports."

Gasnier would begin his tenth season with the Dragons if he linked up this year, and a $300,000 exemption for long-serving players would no doubt help St George Illawarra bring him back to the club while also holding onto the roster which has propelled them to the top of the NRL ladder.

Third-party deals falling through were a significant factor in Gasnier turning his back on the Dragons mid-contract in 2008 and signing with Stade Francais, but salary cap relief would allow at least some of the third party payments to be guaranteed by the club.

Confusion as to exactly how much clubs will have to spend in 2011 caused the NRL on Wednesday to push back the date from which player contracts with new clubs can be registered.

Clubs would have been able to register contracts with new players following this weekend's matches, but will now have to wait until after July 6 to formalise new deals.

"There are a number of unusual circumstances which are creating a level of uncertainty and we think that the extension is a reasonable course of action," Gallop said.

"We are looking at a number of salary cap issues at the moment and it is important that we provide as much certainty as is practical for players and clubs alike.

"We expect those issues will be clarified prior to the end of round 17."

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