Gallen calls for TPA fairness
Cronulla Sharks co-captain Paul Gallen would like the NRL to find ways to even out the distribution of third-party agreements so one-team towns like the Brisbane Broncos, Melbourne Storm and North Queensland Cowboys don't have a distinct advantage.
As the NRL seeks to have greater transparency with TPAs, one suggestion is publishing the total amount each club's players earn through these private sponsorship deals. Gallen says that is the wrong way to go about it.
"I think transparency to the public [player earnings] is ridiculous. How many people out there want to let us know what they're earning?" Gallen said on Sunday, after a Sharks training session as they prepare to meet the Cowboys in Townsville on Friday night for round one.
"As for the third party [agreement] ... I don't know what system they come up with," he added when asked for suggestions on how to make the system fairer.
"I'm a football player and I know how hard the game is, I know how hard the game is just to get out on the field and play, I know the pressures that we're under from everyone.
"I'm all for blokes earning as much money as they can, but when you look at the Melbournes, Brisbanes and the Cowboys they're able to [get more]."
Two weeks ago, NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks told club CEOs that players' individual earnings would not be disclosed. But he believed greater transparency would help dispel many of the concerns about TPAs.
Gallen, a former Test vice-captain and NSW Blues captain, is one of the NRL's most senior players, and at 36 will be the oldest player in the 2018 Telstra Premiership.
He wants an evener distribution of TPAs. Melbourne is understood to have the most valuable list of private, non-club related player deals at $788,000 with Brisbane players earning about $550,000.
"That's a fair bonus," Gallen said, referring to the Storm's total.
"There is definitely advantages some clubs have with it, but I don't have the answer for it because I'm all for players earning as much as they can.
"But you look at Melbourne's team, take the third party out of it, and they don't have half that team. And they're probably not able to keep it for as long as they have," he said.
"It's a difficult question because I'm all for players earning as much as they can, but it should be as even as possible. How they do it I've got absolutely no idea.
"When you're in Melbourne you've got one team in the city, they've got the best players in the world there and businessmen are happy to put their hands in their pocket and have them come to a kids birthday or have them come to a business and talk to them about leadership.
"When you're in Sydney you're competing with another eight other teams plus the [Sydney]Swans, Greater Western Sydney [Giants] and others. It's a tough one."