Greenberg: Why Manly won’t have points stripped
MANLY have been heavily fined but NRL boss Todd Greenberg has conceded the other 15 clubs have every right to be angry about the latest salary cap scandal to put a black mark on the game.
No one will be more disappointed than the clubs that have previously been stripped of competition points for cheating the cap, with Parramatta the most recent example after they were docked 12 points in 2016, ultimately costing them a place in the finals.
The Sea Eagles on the other hand are free to compete for the 2018 premiership without having to make up lost points after Greenberg confirmed docked competition points would not make up part of the penalty.
While the Eels started the 2016 season "playing well over the salary cap", Greenberg said the Sea Eagles had a compliant 2018 roster, which was why lost points were not part of the equation.
"Given the club has been cap compliant in 2018, no competition points will be deducted," Greenberg said, before being asked how he would explain that to an Eels supporter.
"I can understand why that would be a question that a Parramatta fan would ask," he said.
"The simple answer is that Manly are playing in a salary cap compliant roster for 2018 and the difference with other situations, and you call Parramatta out, is they were playing well over the salary cap at that particular time.
"So the reason there's no points coming off Manly in 2018 is that they're playing with a roster that's well and truly under the salary cap."
While the Sea Eagles will remain on two points after their sole 2018 victory, ironically over the Eels, they have not got off completely without a punishment that will impact their on-field performance.
The NRL has enforced a $660,000 penalty on their cap for this season as well as 2019, giving the other 15 clubs a competitive advantage when it comes to recruitment and retention.
That penalty was in direct response to the illegal competitive advantage Manly had given themselves over five years, offering "undisclosed payments" to a total of 15 players over that period, according to Greenberg.
"I can understand the disappointment that will be felt by 15 other clubs, who potentially will feel like they missed out on a player in a negotiation," Greenberg said.
"I understand that and that's why the measurements of penalties we're placing today are significant - a $750,000 fine, two officials that have been removed for a period of time and a distinct salary cap disadvantage for Manly in the coming years that will make it very difficult."