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Proposal to change TPA deals would help clubs sign Folau

Clubs will hold additional power to lure the likes of Israel Folau to the sport under one proposal being discussed as part of an overhaul of third party agreements.

NRL clubs could be empowered to source sponsorship deals for specific players, a move that would provide teams like the Penrith Panthers more bargaining power to retain Nathan Cleary, as part of changes to the third-party system.

The committee recently formed to devise a strategy around TPAs is in the initial stages of coming up with recommendations to improve the system.

One of those recommendations is a capped $1.5 million endorsement pool that would be made public each year and include TPAs acquired by players and managers as well club-sourced sponsorship deals.

The NRL is keen on exploring the idea of making public the total amount of TPAs registered at each club.

Folau's Rugby Australia contract expires at the end of 2018.

The recommendation would allow clubs to pay the expected $1 million in the salary cap it would take to lure him back to the sport, as well as an additional guaranteed sponsorship that would help the NRL compete with the lucrative Rugby Australia contracts.

Former Maroons star Israel Folau.
Former Maroons star Israel Folau. ©NRL Photos

However, some club chief executives, who are gathered on the Gold Coast for a two-day conference, believe the idea would provide the better-resourced clubs with an unfair advantage in the recruitment market.

Melbourne Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy, Penrith Panthers boss Brian Fletcher, Wests Tigers chief Justin Pascoe and Gold Coast counterpart Graham Annesley are on the committee.

For years there has been great conjecture surrounding the legitimacy of TPAs given the rules demand clubs are at arm’s length from any external deal.

Parramatta chief executive Bernie Gurr believes the game needs to introduce a capped TPA system but doesn’t believe allowing clubs to legally gain sponsorship deals is beneficial for the sport.

"I personally would like to see a cap on third-party agreements," Gurr said.

Big Hits: Rounds 1-5

"I think they should still be sourced externally by the players and managers to keep the clubs at arm’s length. You don’t want to have perceptions that clubs are generating these TPAs. My view is the players and managers should sign statutory declarations every year, the same as the chairmen and CEOs do. It doesn’t solve everything, but they understand if they lie on that stat dec, they are committing a crime.

"The players have stated that they want to be partners in the game, well being partners in the game is not just partnering in the revenue, it’s partnering in all the controls and processes around the game to ensure that we have a competitive competition. Part of that is having a parity of compensation paid to players across all clubs."

As of last year, the Melbourne Storm were the club with the highest amount of third-party earnings, with $788,000 being received by their players, including star fullback Billy Slater.

The Broncos and Panthers were next in line with around $550,000 worth of third-party agreements respectively, making up a significant portion of the $9.6m spread among 198 players.

Highway to help

Parramatta will mix things up in a bid to rescue their season heading into Saturday night’s clash against the Raiders in Canberra.

The Eels will head to Canberra on Thursday for two nights of team bonding as they attempt to save a season that promised so much and delivered so little.

The winless Eels haven’t left Sydney in the first five rounds of the season and most Sydney teams only travel to Canberra on the day of the game.

However, coach Brad Arthur is hoping two nights of soul searching and bonding will galvanise his team as they look to keep their finals dreams alive.

Titans tempt Wallace with new deal 

Gold Coast prop Jarrod Wallace has a one-year option in his favour for next season.

The Queensland prop's stocks have risen over the past 12 months but the Titans are desperate to keep him long term.

Titans forward Jarrod Wallace.
Titans forward Jarrod Wallace. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

The Titans have offered him an extension to keep him at the club until the end of 2021, in the hope of him taking up the option for next season.

Newcastle are keeping a close eye on the movements of Melbourne prop Tim Glasby and out-of-favour Raiders forward Josh Papalii.

Hayne's legal delay

The pre-conference for the Jarryd Hayne court case was originally scheduled in the US this week, however it has been postponed. The mediation is now expected to take place next month.

Bumper crowd expected for Anzac Day

The NRL is expecting a massive turnout on Anzac Day for the traditional clash between the undefeated St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters.

The two clubs made up 35% of the grand final tickets sold in the members' pre-sale, the largest two of any clubs in the competition.

Only the Melbourne Storm had fewer members purchasing tickets than the Parramatta Eels, whose disgruntled fans made up 1.9% of tickets sold.

Grand final tickets went on sale to the general public at 10am on Wednesday. Early bird tickets start at $80 ($225 for a family package), while ticketed members will be able to purchase tickets from $60 ($170 for family).

2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final tickets are now on sale

Still on the Roosters, and they’ll be searching for their 100th win against arch rivals South Sydney in Thursday night’s clash at Allianz Stadium.

The two clubs have met on 216 occasions since 1908. The Rabbitohs have 112 wins, while there have been five draws in that time.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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