The “marquee signing” thing is such a crocked idea. You only need such a thing if your salary cap by definition isn’t working in the first place. A cap works if you have x number of teams all capable of paying it and then market forces will determine that each team has their own fill of such A list players as players would slot into rough Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 etc categories, each tier having its own roughly defined salary band. You couldn’t then by definition have only Tier 1 players, for example, as you wouldn’t be able to afford to pay them all. Similarly, you would be hard-pushed to pay anywhere near full cap with only Tier 3-6 (or whatever your lowest band might be) players, unless you were profoundly reckless or ill-informed. Think of your Fantasy Football league at work. That simple.
The key is to ensure the health of the league by virtue of having a large number of (by definition) competitive sides. Again, think of your Fantasy Football league, where everyone has the same pot. Marquee players then look after themselves and don’t need to leave the sport or SL as they have many more options than presently (eg about 4 SL teams, if we’re honest). What’s better still is that by not buddying up on the same teams as outlined above we also see fabulously competitive games from round 1 to the GF, which enhances our nationwide profile and position at the TV negotiating table.
Even if - following some better structural thinking - this cap was set low (thus risking losing players to RU, for example) the increased strength of the overall competition would be a good selling point to players who as a rule do not want to leave the sport. It would be a sign of RL’s confidence in itself and we would at least wring every penny out of the league’s full cap spend. Better this than any knee-jerk ad-hoc exemptions for the elite made out of fear. At the minute we lose players for the wrong reason - namely that we brought in a cap but didn’t reinforce it with full spend across the board or any serious thought as to whether that could ever sensibly and consistently take place without fear of the financial armageddon we’ve seen at some clubs. The cap and those clubs either unable to pay it through no fault other than being small and under-funded or reckless enough to do so and placing themselves in financial ruin as a result thus become the erroneous target and the answer – we are told – is to allow Leeds and Wigan to spend more to plug the gaps in our thinking and keep our best lads away from RU. It just isn’t good enough. Basically your salary cap is only as good as the league structure that supports it and ours in SL is poor, sadly. We have set up to not back ourselves, to create inequality and still to lose players anyway because the overall product is just not good (or at least competitive) enough.
Of course an alternative is to scrap the cap and let everyone pay what they want. This will keep our players but create EPL-like hierachical tedium.
Sadly this being European rugby league I fully expect some kind of “visionary” other option to placate all sides at detriment to the overall product. But this business about how to keep marquee players happy really is not rocket science. The Yanks and Aussies sussed it in a second.
Edited by DeadShotKeen, 01 May 2013 - 11:34 AM.