NRL General Discussion Thread - 2019

Alec

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I think Broncos are a bit hard to rate right now. Everyone rates them based on potential, which is definitely insanely high. But a very young squad doesn't always play to their potential, so we just have to see how much those performances dip.
 
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ivanhungryjak

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Cameron Smith’s stunning call for NRL to return Melbourne’s stripped titles

Cameron Smith has sensationally called for the NRL to consider handing back Melbourne the two titles they had stripped for salary-cap rorts after cheating rivals Cronulla escaped a premiership sanction.
Speaking at the code’s 2019 season launch in Sydney on Thursday night, Smith came out swinging, expressing his dismay at the Sharks retaining their 2016 premiership despite the NRL integrity unit uncovering a salary-cap breach last week.
Melbourne were embroiled in one of Australian sport’s biggest scandals in 2010 when the Storm were found to have cheated the salary cap by an estimated $1.7 million over a five-year period.

Cameron Smith wants the NRL to reassess their stripped titles.
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Former NRL CEO David Gallop threw the book at the Storm, fining the club $1.1 million and stripping Melbourne of their 2007 and 2009 premierships, plus three minor premierships.
The current NRL administration, led by Todd Greenberg, last week issued Cronulla a breach notice proposing a $750,000 fine for systematic salary-cap rorts dating back to the 2013 season.
The NRL alleged the illegal payments did not affect their title-winning 2016 season, allowing the Sharks to keep the premiership they won, ironically by beating Melbourne.
Smith - the most-capped player in NRL history with 384 games - was left devastated by the Storm salary-cap affair and believes there are clear inconsistencies between the sanctions handed out to Cronulla and the Storm.

Smith says Melbourne’s offences were similar to Cronulla’s in 2016. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Asked if current NRL boss Greenberg should look to reinstate Melbourne’s stripped premierships, Storm skipper Smith was unequivocal.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“They have a lot on their plate at the moment (with a spate of off-field scandals) and I don’t want to take away from some of the things that have happened over the past six months.
“But if the NRL can have a look back and go over what happened at the Storm over those years, they may find there is a different outcome.”
Sharks CEO Barry Russell quit on Tuesday after self-reporting Cronulla’s salary-cap irregularities.

Melbourne had their 2007 and 2009 titles stripped.
While Smith did not dispute the Storm were guilty of serious salary-cap breaches, he says other offenders in recent years, such as Cronulla and Parramatta, did not receive such heavy-handed penalties.
“We were made to play an entire season without points,” Smith said.
“We had premierships taken off us - this (the Sharks salary-cap scandal) is almost like a similar crime with a completely different punishment.
“It (the Storm and Cronulla breaches) are reasonably similar.
“A lot of people got caught up in the overall amount we were over the cap. The NRL did a strategic job of using that entire amount ($1.7 million).
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“The most we were over in one season was $500,000.
“If you look over the course of time since 2010 until now, there’s a handful of clubs who have been over the cap by similar amounts and they haven’t been made to sit out a season or not play for points.
“They have been deducted four points and two points.
“For me the main differences I have seen with the new administration and that is Todd (Greenberg) being involved, he has taken the correct amount of time to go through all the information gathered and come to his decision, rather than seeing a club breach the salary cap and just wielding the axe.
“What happened to us was fairly harsh, we haven’t seen anything like it since.”
I'm surprised it took him this long to try it on.

https://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/nrl/teams/storm/cameron-smiths-stunning-call-for-nrl-to-return-melbournes-stripped-titles/news-story/834201d91ac15cb3024d4217f6d225e0
 
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Where is Cam getting the 500,000 figure from?

Melbourne spent 1.04 Million outside of the cap in 2010, which wasn't drastically different from their 2009 cap (1.021 Million). Were Melbourne somehow claiming to be 500K under the cap, with that roster?

I don't blame Smith either. The recent penalties aren't consistent with the Storm's punishment and it's amazing how nobody took anything out of the salary rort.
 
Where is Cam getting the 500,000 figure from?

Melbourne spent 1.04 Million outside of the cap in 2010, which wasn't drastically different from their 2009 cap (1.021 Million). Were Melbourne somehow claiming to be 500K under the cap, with that roster?

I don't blame Smith either. The recent penalties aren't consistent with the Storm's punishment and it's amazing how nobody took anything out of the salary rort.
$500,000k was his personal boat bonus l believe
 
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Melbourne were a million over and IIRC the salary cap then was almost half what it is now. So adjusted, it's more like a 2M cap rort than a similar offence.

It was also a systematic club wide cheating system where they had an entire set of books just for the fake salaries that was reported to the NRL and they were also caught out. It was also over a 5 year period rather than 3 and showed no sign of receding or stopping if they weren't caught.

Entirely different from being 500k over, and a few dodgy third party deals which were then self reported to the NRL.

That being said the title should be stripped, not being over on grand final day isn't an excuse.
 
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Apparently, the NRL's justification is that, yes, the Sharks also had illegal payments made to players in 2016, however they were playing a fair way under the cap that year, so even including the illegal payments they'd still have been under the cap.

In isolation that seems to equate to them having a legal team in 2016. In practice though it's bullshit. It just means any team can front-end and/or back-end a bunch of payments, be over the cap for a bunch of seasons but leave one or two seasons "legal" as a premiership window. That being said, I really doubt that it was just good luck that the other seasons were over but their premiership year was strangely under. It looks to me like a bunch of payments have been deliberately shifted in to surrounding seasons in order to manufacture 2016's roster to be "legal".

And that's forgetting that the reason for the cap, and why the Storm were stripped of titles, is because it wasn't about being under the cap for X year, but about retaining and recruiting players unfairly. You don't pay someone illegally unless you're busting your arse trying to fit a bunch of players in to a salary cap that otherwise would not allow it.

It's a fucking joke, and every time I look at it, I see a politician (Greenturd) placating a powerful entity (Rothfield) in return for favourable press. How much has this fucking slimy prick done that he simply never has had to answer for?
 
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https://www.nrl.com/news/2019/03/08/matt-cecchin-returns-to-nrl-after-super-league-delays-two-referee-move/

Matt Cecchin returns to NRL after Super League delays two-referee move

Changes to the way referees will control matches have convinced Matt Cecchin to return to the NRL ranks after visa complications and a decision by Super League clubs to postpone the introduction of two whistleblowers scuttled his plans to move to England.
After Cecchin twice had his visa application to referee in Super League rejected by the UK Government as match officials aren’t classified as professional sportspeople, the Rugby Football League tailored a job as Two Referee Technical Executive specifically for the 45-year-old.
Cecchin had agreed to a two-year deal with an option for another 12 months, had his dog immunised and had begun selling furniture when advised this week the job no longer existed after clubs decided to indefinitely delay the adoption of the NRL’s two-referee model.
RFL head of match officials Steve Ganson had wanted Cecchin to oversee a trial of the system in reserve grade this season before the introduction of two referees in Super League in 2020. He would also referee Super League matches.
"We felt that was just going to be a formality for me to get a visa but we didn’t know the Super League clubs would decide to change their stance on two refs," Cecchin said.
"I got a call this Monday night to say that Super League have cancelled the two-ref option for reserve grade this season and they are unsure when they will bring it in for the Super League so based on that there was no possible way of me getting a visa."
While waiting for his visa, Cecchin has been in regular contact with new NRL head of elite football operations Graham Annesley and he immediately advised him of his desire to resume refereeing after last year quitting because of the constant abuse and disillusionment with the way match officials were instructed to control games.
Cecchin, who received death threats after correctly disallowing a late Tonga try in their 2017 World Cup semi-final defeat by England, revealed how he had a discussion in Melbourne with Cameron Smith amid the fallout from last season’s controversial Storm-Sharks match in which he blew 37 penalties.
"Cam pointed at me and said ‘why don’t you just referee the way you have done’. I said Cameron, it is important as a squad that we all referee the same way. He accepted that," Cecchin said.
However, he readily admits he didn’t like the style of refereeing in the NRL last season and decided to move to England as Super League is the only other professional competition in the world.
"Coming off the England-Tonga game there was the trauma caused by that and there was the change required by me last year to officiate the way that wasn’t natural to me," he said.
"It was important to me to referee the way all the other squad members did, it would have been easy for me to be the outlier and say I am going to do what I have always done but that is not fair on the other referees or the players or the teams that require a different approach.
"That was part of the attraction of going to England, the way that they officiate over there is very different to the way we did last year. From what I have heard and the discussions I have had with squad members there is a definite shift in the way we are going to officiate this year and that style of refereeing suits my natural game."
After outlining the toll the abuse and criticism of referees in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Cecchin said the support he received was overwhelming – including a phone call from former ARL CEO John Quayle.
He has also been doing charity work with Pass It On Clothing and joked a lot of homeless people in Martin Place now wear NRL polo shirts.
Before committing to returning to the NRL, he spoke at length to his sports therapist and also sought the backing of his fiancé, Brent.
"In the last seven years he has seen the highs and lows," Cecchin said. "Last year was really tough for us, I asked him how he felt about last year and he said 'helpless'. He doesn’t know that he was a tremendous help, but he was.”
Cecchin insisted the NRL was simply a fallback for him after being unable to work in England and said he was now aiming to regain his mantle as the game’s No.1 referee.
"I’m sure that in my first game back in the NRL, half the people are going to think ‘why didn’t you retire’. That’s never going to change," he said.
"I just want to keep doing this for as long as I am able to and love it, and for as long as the game will have me. If you had asked me 12 months ago I might have given a very different answer and that is how important mental health is."
Annesley said Cecchin would undergo a physical assessment next week and it would be determined whether he is appointed to a Telstra Premiership match in the opening round or makes his return through the NSWRL’s Canterbury Cup competition.
 
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Revealed how he had a discussion in Melbourne with Cameron Smith amid the fallout from last season’s controversial Storm-Sharks match in which he blew 37 penalties.
"Cam pointed at me and said ‘why don’t you just referee the way you have done’. I said Cameron, it is important as a squad that we all referee the same way. He accepted that," Cecchin said.
The jokes write themselves here.
 
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Can anyone find a link to the current NRL policy on how old you need to be to play NRL.
All I can find is articles on proposed changes.
 
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