Back-loaded NRL contracts scary, risky

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor describes back-loaded NRL contracts as scary, Sydney Roosters counterpart Trent Robinson agrees they are risky.

The strategy has come under renewed focus after Wests Tigers’ decision to urge captain Robbie Farah to seek another club from next season, despite having two years left on his contract when he is reportedly due to earn almost $1 million a year.

Although Farah’s situation may not be entirely due to salary cap issues, it highlighted the concerns over “back-ending” contracts, whereby players earn much more in the last years of their deals.

“Back-ended contracts are a scary thing,” Taylor said on Thursday.

“The processes that we’re putting in place are going to ensure we don’t have situations like this in the future.

“We are making really smart decisions and making sure that going forward we don’t find ourselves in this position as a club.

Right now myself and (interim chief executive) Phil Moss, we are dealing with a salary cap that is really messy.

“We are working really hard to clean it up.”

Taylor admitted the Tigers could still find themselves paying several hundred thousand dollars to Farah next year if he didn’t get the full amount of his contract at his new club and they had to make up the difference.

Sydney Roosters coach Robinson underlined the importance of managing back-loaded contracts as as part of an overall salary cap strategy and stressed some clubs had done it better than others.

“Teams have managed them well and teams haven’t managed them well and they find their squads in different strengths or weaknesses, so it’s vital to any club,” Robinson said.

“It can make the difference in competing for a competition or not.”

Robinson questioned whether it was necessary for clubs to lock themselves into long-term back-loaded deals when the NRL was constantly unearthing new talent.

“You have to be careful with huge increases at the back end of deals, it can get you in trouble,” Robinson said.

” I think there’s a broader thing when it comes to that. The beauty of our game is we produce so many good players.

“We’re looking at Sonny Bill (Williams) who we (the Roosters) had, go back to rugby union.

“We’ve had Sam (Burgess) go over to England and playing in their (rugby union) squad.

“We’ve got Jarryd Hayne in the NFL. We’ve got Izzy (Israel Folau) playing for Australia (in rugby union).

“We produce players year after year.

“Guys were questioning whether (the Roosters) Roger Tuivasa-Sheck could play fullback at the start of the year and now he’s one of the best in the competition and we just keep producing players.

“So long, long deals with huge jumps are risky for clubs. They are important sometimes to sign a player, but you just have to be careful.”

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