PARRAMATTA will break next season’s salary cap to get Israel Folau back to rugby league, but only if the ARL Commission grants them permission.
The Daily Telegraph understands Parramatta have approached the commission to spend more than the game’s $5 million salary cap for next year and then operate under a reduced cap for 2014.
The ARLC is looking to register Folau at $400,000 for next season, knocking back the Eels’ original plan to declare a far lower salary for the AFL defector. That would mean Parramatta’s cap is increased to $5.4 million for next year but reduced by $400,000 – to $4.6 million – for 2014.
Over two years, Parramatta would spend the same amount – $10 million – as every other club.
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However, Parramatta’s 2014 cap would easily be the lowest of any club in the NRL.
Eels chief executive Ken Edwards met with ARLC chairman John Grant last Friday morning at NRL headquarters.
A second option facing Parramatta is to shed up to $400,000 worth of talent, culling up to three players.
Parramatta claim to have been open with the NRL, but it’s understood they have not submitted a Folau contract to salary cap auditor Ian Schubert.
Izzy’s gap year rugby threat
It’s believed the Eels were pushing to register Folau’s contract for roughly $150,000 for the first year of his deal – very cheap considering he left the game as an Origin and Test star.
One source inside the NRL confirmed Parramatta had asked to break the cap next year but then be reined back in 2014.
“Maybe there should be some adjustments to the rules,” he said.
“Over the next two years Parramatta will spend exactly the same amount as all rival clubs. It will even out.
“I think the ARLC must think outside the square on this one. The game has to decide whether it wants Israel Folau back.”
There is danger in allowing Parramatta to bend the salary cap rules because other clubs are sure to make use of such wriggle room.
It is understood 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. He 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.
But if Folau thought AFL was boring and not suited to his skills, wait until he sees the ball only a couple of times a rugby match.
The former AFL player wants to play for one club, Parramatta, but is understood to be frustrated with the delay.
by Dean Ritchie, The Daily Telegraph, November 26, 2012