IN recent years, Super League has seen the loss of Kai Pearce-Paul, Bailey Hodgson, Will Pryce, Dom Young, John Bateman and now another could potentially be following in the shape of Lewis Murphy.
The Wakefield Trinity winger is being linked with a move to NRL giants Sydney Roosters, which begs the question: what can Super League do to stop the exodus of the sport’s best young players to the southern hemisphere?
Of course, the debate currently surrounds the salary cap and the monstrous increase in the NRL as compared to Super League.
Though it is yet to be signed off, the NRL salary cap is set to increase to $12.1 million – a figure which equates to just shy of £7 million.
When the Super League salary cap stands at £2.1 million, it’s pretty obvious why the northern hemisphere cannot compete with the southern.
As a result, we are losing our greatest talent and though as good as it is for the likes of Young and Pryce to be given a chance in the NRL, it is an alarming consequence of the massive widening financial gap between the two competitions.
There really can’t be any other solution than to increase the cap or scrap it altogether, but the appetite for that perhaps isn’t widespread enough within Super League clubs to make such a radical change.
Another solution could be to give Super League special dispensation to keep their young stars with potential relief on the cap, but how many stars per club could this be used on?
With the new era under IMG and their ‘re-imagining’ of rugby league, something must be done and with the scrapping of the Magic Weekend and the new structure of the sport, IMG aren’t exactly holding back.
The salary cap was introduced along with the summer game in a bid to stop teams running away with Super League, but only four sides (Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, St Helens and Wigan Warriors) have ever won the Grand Final anyway.
Those teams that can afford it should be allowed to fund what they want – which was former Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash’s argument.
Of course, the pull of living in Australia or New Zealand is great especially for a young star wanting to experience the world, but would they be more willing to stay in Super League if clubs could afford to pay them more and weren’t restricted by the cap?
That is really the only way we can stop the exodus.