Melbourne captain Cameron Smith has applauded the NRL for thoughtful handling of Parramatta’s salary cap fiasco.
Smith was the Storm skipper in 2010, when they were stripped of two premierships due to salary cap breaches and were forced to play out the season for no competition points.
He is glad the Parramatta players have been left with a glimmer of hope for their 2016 season, despite having their 12 competition points stripped this week, while the club was fined $1 million for cap breaches and five Eels officials face deregistration.
The Eels can begin to accrue competition points if they shed almost $600,000 off their current roster, although they can only afford three more losses if they are to make the finals.
Smith, who’ll lead Australia in Friday’s mid-year Test against New Zealand, had high praise for the governing body’s approach to the Eels’ violations.
“I must commend (NRL CEO) Todd Greenberg and his staff for the way they’ve gone about it,” Smith told Triple M.
“They’ve done a thorough investigation into what’s happened at the Parramatta club. And the decision that they’ve made, they had the fans in mind, they had the players and the coaches in mind as well.
“It’s great that they’ve been given the opportunity to make something of their season and they haven’t taken away any sort of hope or purpose for 2016.”
Smith recalled how tough it was to play the 2010 season without the incentive of points.
“It was a pretty low feeling,” he said.
“I’m very happy that the Parramatta players, the club and their fans have been given the opportunity to play for points this year if they do get back under the cap.”