Market Forces not Former Players Determine Current Player Salaries

When former players with the adjective “legend” attached to their names weigh in on current player salaries, it is hard to determine if they are speaking from a genuine vantage point, if they are merely bitter because they played in an earlier era for far less money.

Jack Nicklaus earned around $5 million in prizemoney for what is still arguably the best career ever compiled by a professional golfer. Today, the prizemoney has grown to the degree that a top player making that sort of money in one season is not much above average.

We are not suggesting Nicklaus has or is doing this. He is just a prime example proving the old adage, “That was then, this is now.”

Supply and demand is inescapable when it comes to salaries. Many could stand on firm ground when they claim that the role of schoolteacher is more socially significant than that of professional rugby player.

It may be true, but there is a large supply of schoolteachers. The supply of top-flight rugby players is limited. Large supply = low salary. Low supply = high salary.

So, when we hear rugby legend Gorden Tallis opining that young Brisbane Broncos star Tevita Pangai Jnr is not worth the $1 million price tag he is expected to bring at the end of the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition, we cannot help but wonder if Tallis is objective, or if he thinks he was shortchanged by St. George and Brisbane during his 214 game career that ran from 1992 – 2004.

Pangai is off contract at the end of this season and a bidding war is expected that could see him reel in a $1 million payday.

“That price tag’s too much,” Tallis told Queenslanders Only on Fox League.

Questions for Mr. Tallis: How about $750,000 from the Broncos to retain Pangai? Is that the true value of the young prop, lock and second-row player?