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Cap system to come under scrutiny after rookie's benching

In limbo: Penrith's Matt Moylan, who is currently stuck in the NSW Cup, in action against the Melbourne Storm earlier this year.

In limbo: Penrith's Matt Moylan, who is currently stuck in the NSW Cup, in action against the Melbourne Storm earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images

The second-tier salary cap system that has interrupted the NRL career of promising Penrith rookie Matt Moylan will be officially reviewed this week and the changes may lead to him being able to line up for the Panthers again.

NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert returns from leave on Tuesday and he will meet with the code's new chief operating officer, Jim Doyle, to discuss the merits of a system that prohibits players such as Moylan from playing first grade.

Doyle is overseeing a review of the entire salary cap system, which includes ways to make rulings by Schubert more transparent and the establishment of an appeals committee.

However, the immediate focus is on the second-tier salary cap and talks have been under way for several weeks about the purpose of a system that prevents clubs from selecting players outside their top 25-man squad.

''Hopefully, by the end of next week we will have some things we can do in the short term and then obviously something we have got to do in the long term,'' Doyle said.

Doyle said he would seek to find whether there was a valid reason that clubs cannot have more than 25 players in their squad if they are under the NRL salary cap of $5.85 million - as the Panthers are this year.

Despite having $200,000 to spare under the salary cap, Penrith had to drop Moylan from Sunday's match against Wests Tigers because they had enough fit players from their top-25 squad to field a team.

Each NRL club has a ceiling of $375,000 they can spend on second-tier players but the Panthers exceeded that limit during a recent injury crisis that was so severe they were granted an exemption to play Moylan.

After winning the five matches Moylan played, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary wanted to retain him at fullback but the Panthers were told they could not do so after Wes Naiqama recovered from a knee injury. As a result, Naiqama played in Sunday's loss to Wests Tigers and Moylan turned out for Windsor Wolves in their NSW Cup match against Newtown at Parkes.

''The Matt Moylan case is a good example of what we need to be looking at,'' Doyle said. ''Does it make logical sense that the system that is presently in place has this type of issue? If the answer to that is 'no, it is not logical', then we have got to do something about it … But what we don't want to do is solve one problem and create three others.

''What we really want to challenge is what is the purpose behind it and what is it set up to achieve. I don't mean the overall salary cap but all of the details underneath, like second-tier salary cap.

''If you are a club and you are under the salary cap but you can't play a player from your second-tier side … does that mean that there just needs to be a total salary cap?

''If clubs are developing players and they are more efficient in paying, should they not be allowed 26, 27 or 28 players inside the same number?''

1 comment so far

  • Good. Ridiculous rule that doesn't allow organic progression for junior players and promotes the loss of juniors from their home clubs. Mid-season transfers are allowed in the NRL and the Panthers have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare in their first tier. Why can't that be used to supplement second tier? Why aren't mid-season transfers within the top 25 allowed? The Tigers are hitting their second tier ceiling too. Both clubs have had injury after injury this season and now their juniors are getting punished. The rule is not fulfilling it's purpose here, it is doing the opposite. Wake up NRL, or soon you'll have no juniors.

    Date and time
    June 10, 2013, 6:56PM

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