Car Deals Under Microscope As NRL Continues To Investigate Manly
Cars provided to Manly Sea Eagles players by Brookvale Mazda "formed a crucial plank" in the National Rugby League's salary cap investigations as a "legal stoush looms" over what constitutes an "arm's length" third-party arrangement, according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The car deals and player sponsorships from longtime lawyer Brenda Duchen to Sea Eagles players are reportedly "among the arrangements under the microscope." Those deals "have previously been registered by the NRL and there is no suggestion that the sponsors or players have acted inappropriately" in securing them. Manly is confident it will mount a strong defense to the NRL's breach notice, "given the governing body is now seeking to include in the salary cap deals that were previously approved as being appropriately at arm's length." It "is believed the allegations have come as a surprise to officials," given there is "no trail of illegal payments being made or money being owed to players." Tom and Jake Trbojevic, as well as Darcy Lussick and Curtis Sironen, are listed on the car dealer's website as ambassadors. Other players "to have been provided cars as part of a sponsorship in recent years" include Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran, Marty Taupau, Brenton Lawrence, Tom Symonds, Jessie Sene-Lefao and Jamie Buhrer. Mazda Brookvale Owner Joe Rinaldi said that he was "unaware his company was named in the breach notice and believed all deals had been in line with NRL regulations." Rinaldi said, "It would probably be about 10 to 12 players [we've sponsored] since about 2013" (SMH, 12/13).