Penrith fullback Matt Moylan was ''pretty filthy and disappointed'' to be denied the opportunity to play in the NRL this week due to salary cap restrictions he said he could not understand.
Moylan, who is not part of Penrith's 25-man NRL squad, has been made the poster boy for alleged inadequacies in the second-tier salary cap.
After he played five matches for the Panthers - making his debut during an injury crisis - the team was forced to drop him because an injured player, Wes Naiqama, was available to return. So instead of playing against Wests Tigers at Centrebet Stadium on Sunday, he was in Parkes, playing for Windsor against Newtown.
Having trained with the Panthers all week, Moylan said he was told he could not play on Friday afternoon. He then had to pack to leave for Parkes the next morning to play for the NSW Cup side.
''I was pretty filthy and disappointed,'' Moylan said after playing in Parkes. ''I never thought it'd come to this. But there's not much I can do … All I can do is just play footy and hope it gets sorted.''
Moylan's short-term future in first grade is now in doubt. If the Panthers do not suffer any more injuries in their back line for the remainder of this season, and the current restrictions continue to apply, Moylan will not be able to play for the Panthers, even though he played a key role in the squad's climb back into the top eight after four wins from five matches.
''I didn't know this could happen,'' Moylan said.
Moylan, who earns less than half the NRL minimum wage of $75,000, will be denied the chance to earn $3000 match payments while he is sidelined from the NRL. He is now only ''hopeful'' that his first-grade career will not be stalled until next season.
Moylan's Windsor side suffered a 26-22 loss to Newtown, while the Panthers suffered just their second defeat in the past six matches, a 20- 18 loss to the Tigers. Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said he was still hopeful Moylan would be available for the Panthers' next match, against Canberra on Saturday.
''I don't see what's so hard about it,'' Cleary said. ''I don't think this is actually that hard to fix. I suppose if you were going to fix it, which I'm confident the NRL will, they just have to get to the bottom of how everything works … This is so unfortunate. It's sort of embarrassing, quite frankly.
''It's not like we're trying to pick a school team and throw in someone … I think anyone who looks at this situation with Matt, from a commonsense point of view, would know what the right answer is.''