NRL's Parramatta Pitches 'Radical' New Proposal For Flexible Salary Cap
National Rugby League Parramatta Eels is "believed to have pitched a radical proposal" to the NRL to have its salary cap spaced out over the next two years in "a last-ditch attempt" to sign player Israel Folau for next season, according to Stuart Honeysett of THE AUSTRALIAN. Time "is running out" for the Eels and Folau. A decision is expected to be made by the end of this week on whether the former Australian Football League club GWS Giants recruit "will be able to return to the game he loves and with his club of choice." Parramatta officials "were spotted at Rugby League Central on Friday to continue talks." It is believed the Eels have asked the NRL to consider spacing their A$5M ($5.2M) salary cap over the next two years. That would allow them to sign Folau and be over the cap for next season although "they would lose that amount for the following year." Interim NRL CEO Shane Mattiske "refused to be drawn on any details" of Friday's meeting other than to say that the league was "working with the Eels to try to resolve the process." Mattiske said, "Clearly he's [Folau] in discussions with Parramatta. However, Parramatta understand they need to comply with the salary cap rules, and we're working through that process at the moment" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/26).
CAUTION NEEDED: In Sydney, Dean Ritchie wrote there is "danger in allowing Parramatta to bend the salary cap rules because other clubs are sure to make use of such wriggle room." Overseas rugby union clubs "have already heard about the NRL's resistance to register Folau and are preparing offers." Folau could "easily end up in French or Japanese rugby union for 12 months." Folau is managed by Isaac Moses, who sent fellow AFL convert Karmichael Hunt for a stint in French rugby before the former Bronco started with Gold Coast Suns in the AFL (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 11/26).
OPEN WARFARE: Also in Sydney, Brad Walter reported Parramatta Dir Steve Sharp fears it could become ''open warfare'' between new coach Ricky Stuart and the board if "a ticket formed by the triple premiership former Eels star doesn't succeed at upcoming elections." Sharp has organized the ParraFirst ticket to "contest the Dec. 8 elections." If the ticket is successful at the football club elections, Sharp "wants a review of Parramatta's current structure and constitution, which requires four leagues' club directors to sit on the football club board" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 11/26).