Ben Ikin, perhaps a bit hysterically, felt that the NRL’s integrity was at stake over the appearance of Andrew Gee in the Broncos’ coaching box during Brisbane’s’ recent final loss to the Dragons.
We are left wondering if Ikin would have felt as strongly if, as was widely predicted, the Broncos had beaten St. George.
Ikin was quoted saying that strong action on the part of the league was the only way “protect the product and the integrity of the competition”.
Salary cap scandals are nothing new since salary caps were inaugurated in professional sports leagues in order to prevent the rich clubs from vacuuming up all the best players.
Gee is in the spotlight because the NRL has kept him at a distance since he quit his job as the Broncos’ football operations manager in 2014, when the NRL was looking at Brisbane’s books.
Ikin stopped short of saying that Gee’s presence as a guest in Wayne Bennett’s box was responsible for the drubbing handed to the Broncos by the Dragons, but Ikin’s stopping was short, just only.
“In protecting the (game’s) integrity they need to make sure those that have been involved in salary cap investigations in the past, that haven’t come and given evidence when they’re supposed to, are distanced from the game,” he said.
Professional clubs the world over have developed some creative approaches to circumventing the letter and the spirit of the law, so another salary cap controversy is another distraction from the reality of the situation.
If the Broncos did in fact break the rules, why were they in the finals?
Are the Dragons simply better at not being caught with a payroll that exceeds the league limit?
Retaining the players that take a club to the top is a main priority of the club’s accountants, but the regulations have loopholes galore, such as deferring payment to a top earner in order to keep the core group intact.
A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse, someone once said.