that was going to be the death nell of Rugby League in Australia...
then the Amagamation of the original NSWRL / QRL Clubs were going to be the end of RL as a popular sport .
Big contracts were handed out on both sides in an effort to secure the top names on both hemisphere's
All that happened was , the sport almost bankrupted itself , and in the end new talent emerged to cover the loss of the suposed ' Big Names' anyway.
by 1998 the leagues were merged and a salary cap was introduced to ensure parity between clubs and to safeguard the sport from mortgaging itself .
English RL sides have suffered the loss of players/ coaches to RU , and I'm sure we'd love to have the Chris Ashton's , Shaun Edwards's back but there isn't the cash.
Greg will ultimately go because Melbourne did not have the cash , and the Aus RU / AFL have war chests of cash to offer these stars. But this has happened before ( Sailor . Gasnier . Rogers . Hunt . Folau ) and will happen again.
They will always be paid mercenaries in anothers sport and NRL will always discover new talent , if there's a war to be fought in Australia for the hearts & minds of sporting interest the cash will be better spent in the junior leagues winning over the best junior talent rather than wasting it on mercenaries.
What you say is true, my concern is losing Hunt, Folau and potentially Inglis in such a short space of time. These were already amongst our game's best players at very young ages, and while we may cover the loss of them with other bright young emerging talent, they will potentially follow the trend and also move to these richer sports and ours risks effectively becoming a feeder sport which you leave for more money once you're established enough. I may be completely wrong there but that thought is one which sickens me, though perhaps whilst other sports have much more money available then it's inevitable.
A few months ago it looked like League would be striking back with Parramatta heavily linked with Quade Cooper but as ever that failed to materialise and now we risk losing yet another one of our own biggest name players.
I fully back the salary cap and agree it would be stupid to throw money at greedy prima donnas and risk the sport's financial security but at the same time the NRL needs to be very careful, especially now it's facing the threat of the AFL as well as RU.