Poms warn NRL: hands off our stars!
SUPER LEAGUE’S AMBITIOUS
new chief has fired a shot across the NRL’s bow, warning he’ll take drastic measures to stop England’s best players moving Down Under.
And executive director Roger Draper reveals he’s working on plans to lure more of the game’s superstars to the Old Dart.
The salary cap limits in English rugby union ($11.3m) and the NRL ($7m) dwarf the $3m wage ceiling in Super League.
But Draper, who ran the Lawn Tennis Association, says he’s already met with club bosses and hopes to have details of cash incentives in place ahead of next season.
“We want the best players playing in Super League,” he says. “In tennis, if I’ve not got Federer, Nadal and Murray playing, I won’t sell tickets and sponsorship.
“We kick-started the debate with the owners last Friday, and there’s no one magic pill, we’ve got to look at different options ... [but] we want the clubs to have the best talent.
“Whether it’s the salary cap, marquee players, central contracts — we need [players like Wigan fiveeighth] George Williams [pictured] playing in Super League, not Premiership rugby or NRL.
“Professional sport is a short career and you do follow the money — if we're paying £150,000 and a player is being offered £500,000, it doesn’t matter how passionate he is about the club and competition.
“We plan to consolidate this year, enthuse the fans we have and grow outwards... and introduce a lot of these [changes] from 2018 with a five-year plan.”