BY CURTIS WOODWARD
One of the great myths we all once believed was that the salary cap made the NRL a fair competition and it meant any team could win the league in any given season.
How proud we were to rock back, cross our arms and boast about “the world’s closest premiership”.
But if Sonny Bill Williams’ imminent return to the NRL proves anything – it’s that equalisation in the NRL is a total fabrication.
ARL Commission Chairman Peter V’landys is set to give the back-to-back premiers Sydney Roosters special dispensation to squeeze Williams into their cap for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Yep… those Roosters.
“In any good corporate governance you’ve got to have flexibility,” V’landys said on Sunday.
“The Commission can allow applications for extraordinary cases and at the moment we’re in extraordinary times.”
The Roosters are shooting for a remarkable third straight title.
Not long ago we all thought it impossible for a side to win two in a row.
If everything falls into place, the Roosters could be strolling toward lucky number three.
No wonder rival fans are blowing up. It isn’t that Williams is getting special treatment. The issue is what club is getting the special treatment.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Gold Coast Titans who have just paid a reported $3.5 million to drag young forward David Fifita to the club from the Brisbane Broncos and making him one of the highest paid players in the NRL – all at the tender age of 20.
According to The Courier Mail, the offer was upwards of $1 million more than the Broncos could afford.
On one side we have the rich and powerful Roosters. Three premierships since 2013. They also reached the preliminary finals in 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively.
In the other corner are the 2019 wooden spooners who have finished in the bottom three on four other occasions in the same amount of time.
The Roosters have 11 or 12 legitimate stars of the game. Another dozen or so would walk straight into the Titans starting line-up too.
Not long ago SBW was signed to the Toronto Wolfpack for $10 million – making him the richest rugby player of either code anywhere on the planet.
It looks like the NRL are not going to make his valuation anywhere near that mark.
“To me, it’s unfortunate it’s the Roosters,” V’landys went on.
“I’ve said that it would have been great if it was the Warriors that he’s playing for.
“But my whole philosophy on this is Sonny Bill Williams is a human headline and he’s got an aura and a presence. That attracts new fans to the game.
“To me it’s all about the promotion of the game, it’s not about the Roosters or any other club for that matter.”
If it’s about promotion than IT IS about every club.
And if it’s about every club than it shouldn’t be allowed.
The Roosters add Sonny Bill to their squad for a pittance.
Gold Coast have to spend over $3 million to get a 20-year-old with three State of Origins to his name to come play for them.
It doesn’t add up and it sure as hell isn’t fair.
There’s no such thing.