Wests Tigers salary cap mess...

Wests Tigers salary cap mess: how club’s recruitment has played out since Tim Sheens left
Ben Glover FOX SPORTS November 19, 2015 4:54PM SHARE

“IT’S probably three years before we unravel the mess we have inherited.”

That was Wests Tigers chairwoman Marina Go in the middle of this year after the club’s three independent directors had been appointed to the board by the NRL.

At the time it seemed bleak but the reality of the Tigers’ salary cap mess is starting to bear fruit, scaring the life out of Tigers fans along the way.

This week the news has centred on two players who as little as 18 months ago were heralded as the halves to take the Tigers to their first premiership since 2005.

After a tough first season in first grade together, the excitement around Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses has tempered and perhaps sensing the mood, they appear to have cooled on the idea of committing their long-term future to the club.

On Wednesday Balmain legend and Moses’ uncle Benny Elias told foxsports.com.au he feared one of the few bright lights of the 2015 season, fullback James Tedesco, would follow Brooks and Moses out the door if they left the club when their contracts run out at the end of the 2016 season.

“They are at Mitch’s place every day, they are as thick as thieves the three of them,” Elias said.

“Tedesco will go where these two blokes go, I’ll tell you.”

It’s alarmist statements like these that are making it really difficult for coach Jason Taylor to stay in control of an already precarious situation at a club that’s on a knife’s edge.

His softening stance on Robbie Farah — he now says the former skipper will be at the club in 2016 and will be in a fair fight for the starting hooker’s role — was perhaps a sign the coach is looking for some respite from the public scrutiny and fanbase disillusionment.

Taylor has somewhat been hamstrung by the Tigers’ cap issues and since Go made her prediction of three years of pain the club has lost top liners Keith Galloway, Pat Richards and Marty Taupau as well as one of the competition’s brightest young talents, Te Maire Martin.

To counter that they’ve brought in Matt Ballin, Joel Edwards, Rugby Sevens specialist Jesse Parahi and not much else.

Without being disrespectful to the new arrivals, no sane person could argue the Tigers have gone close to breaking even.

There’s little doubt Taylor would struggle to survive if Brooks, Moses or Tedesco, let alone all three, left the club before it started to claw back some ground on the NRL’s more successful clubs.

The juggling act for Taylor is going to be convincing his best and brightest that things will get better as well as selling the club to potential recruits when the worst of the cap crisis is over and the Tigers are back in a position to compete for stars on the open market.

That’s the future. To understand how the Tigers got here you have to take a look at the past.

Tim Sheens was sacked by the club at the end of the 2012 season.

After overseeing a fairly steady and stable squad following their 2005 premiership season, one of Sheens’ final acts was to orchestrate the exits of club favourites Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan.

In some ways that was the beginning of the end. There’s been a steady stream of top quality exits for one reason or another since.

Benji Marshall (rugby), Liam Fulton (retired), Gareth Ellis (Super League), Blake Ayshford (Sharks), Lote Tuqiri (Rabbitohs), Adam Blair (Broncos), Marika Koroibete (Storm), Braith Anasta (retired), Richards (Super League), Galloway (Super League), and the injury prone Tim Moltzen (Manly) have all left since the glory days under Sheens.

The best of the talent brought in from outside the club during that time?

The departing Taupau (Manly), the departed Bodene Thompson (Warriors), the departed Blake Austin (Raiders) and the retired Braith Anasta, who arrived at Concord on his last legs.

It’s for that reason as much as any that Tigers fans must be finding it difficult to cop a salary cap crisis.

Where has all the money gone?

Backended deals for Farah — who could earn $950,000 in reserve grade in 2016 — and Marshall didn’t help and it’s also become clear management overvalued a bunch of players who wouldn’t be considered stars outside their club walls.

They’re suffering for it now because those players didn’t or aren’t living up to the perhaps unrealistic expectations that were placed on them by their price tag.

What the fans will be hoping is that those same mistakes aren’t being repeated by the heavy investment in the Tigers’ new crop of young guns, the likes of Brooks, Moses and Tedesco.

If they flop or move to other clubs as they’re starting to match the hype, Go’s prediction of three years of pain could blow out even further.

THE DEPARTED (POST-SHEENS)

Chris Heighington Benji Marshall Liam Fulton Pat Richards Keith Galloway Beau Ryan Tim Moltzen Gareth Ellis Blake Ayshford Lote Tuqiri Ben Murdoch-Masila Matt Utai Jacob Miller Matt Groat Adam Blair Joel Reddy Marika Koroibete Braith Anasta Eddy Petybourne Bodene Thompson Marty Taupau James Gavet Te Maire Martin

THE OUTSIDE ARRIVALS (POST-SHEENS)

Dene Halatau Braith Anasta Jack Buchanan Eddy Pettybourne Ava Seumanufagai Bodene Thompson Keith Lulia Marty Taupau Cory Paterson James Gavet Blake Austin Matt Lodge Kevin Naiqama Josh Drinkwater Joel Edwards Matt Ballin Michael Chee-Kam Jack Littlejohn Jesse Parahi Josh Addo-Carr Josh Aloiai Justin Hunt Jordan Rankin

http://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/wests-tigers-salary-cap-mess-how-clubs-recruitment-has-played-out-since-tim-sheens-left/story-e6frf3wu-1227615647402

I knew it…. I Blame Sheens… 😉

we must keep the halfs and teddy

the thing the writer has conveniently missed is that our best new players since Sheens left have come from within the club and will most likely continue to be so

This article is so bad it isn’t funny

It just mashed about 4 or 5 articles together and made up some bullcrap about our ex coach.

For starters Sheens is the one who signed Anasta, Pettybourne, Thomson and Buchanan.

That article tells us nothing.

@851:

That article tells us nothing.

I think it has 1 accurate paragraph…

Backended deals for Farah — who could earn $950,000 in reserve grade in 2016 — and Marshall didn’t help and > it’s also become clear management overvalued a bunch of players who wouldn’t be considered stars outside their club walls> .

Paid on potential not Performance…

Nobody else to blame except our past management who coincidentally have left the club with huge financial payouts, in very much the same way as the players they had signed on overvalued contracts have left the club. Unfortunately it is the fans who have, and continue to shoulder, the heavy burden of the club’s huge mismanagement. To add salt into the wound the club is chasing these fans in order to get them to purchase membership packages.

Sirro, Brooks & Moses it time to stand up

More garbage foxsports clickbait.

There’d be a really good story in it if a journo really went into the what/why/how of our salary cap issues, but this is just lazy content.

Article is crap and doesn’t explain the situation at all. For mine it boils down to we pay a lot of promising or average players well above what they are worth or what other well manage clubs would pay.

Here is more response to the article:

The real problem is we produce good junior talent but have to pay overs to them to keep them at the club, no other club does that. Most clubs the junior talent stays for less. We are paying 3-5 of our junior like they are already SOO players when in reality they are well short of that in their development. The funny thing is that 2 of them are waiting to see if they can get better money than their already vastly inflated contracts elsewhere.

The other problem is the management of the Salary Cap. You can pay well over the Salary Cap legally if you use Third Party Agreements look at the Storm, Souths, Broncos, Bulldogs etc… Our previous board never taped into this to keep us competitive and from what I have seen of the new board they don’t seem to have the contacts to tap into greater Third Party Agreements either.

The way the NRL is going with Third Party Agreements is the way of the EPL, the same 2-4 cashed up clubs will be at the top year after year unless the use of such agreements is effectively managed by the NRL.

NFL have a hard salary cap and wan’t all clubs to have good and bad years and not have the same teams at the top year after year. That is why they are by far the biggest sport in the US

By some of the crap written in the tabloids lately, you would think that WT’s are the only club with cap issues.

How about looking at Parramatta, Manly, Souths, Saints, Broncos ( their creative accounting ) and Cronulla for a start.

@magpiecol:

By some of the crap written in the tabloids lately, you would think that WT’s are the only club with cap issues.

How about looking at Parramatta, Manly, Souths, Saints, Broncos ( their creative accounting ) and Cronulla for a start.

It is interesting that Parramatta have just appointed former NRL Salary Cap watchdog Ian Schubert to look after their salary cap problems.

I think the opening few paragraphs of the article are spot on.

Sentiment on Brooks/Moses has cooled, and so it should have, because they are not really playing to a level matching their current salary. Theirs is a salary of potential as much as anything, but we as fans do understand that with boom young juniors, that is the way these things work. The second contract is more true to value.

Benny Elias’ comments are not helpful, correct, but he then re-quotes Benny.

The fall of Sheens and his final team-cutting measures were the start of the phase we are still in. When management under pressure starts to change strategy, it can create big issues down the line, because they start acting for their own short-term good, rather than long-term business good.

Where the journo’s argument starts to unravel is the back half of the article. Many of the departures listed are actually good decisions, the cutting of players not performing to potential, the shake-up of a once-golden era of players.

His list of “top quality exits” has the caveat “for one reason or another”. In other words, he’s trying to make a point of the size of the list alone, rather than an analysis of its content. Just quickly:

Marshall - Overpaid, on the decline.
Fulton - Retired due to repeat concussions. Not how we would have had it.
Ellis - Went home!
Ayshford - Not up to scratch.
Tuqiri - Aging and injury-prone, had maybe 10 good games for the Rabbits.
Blair - Everyone knows this one already.
Koroibete - Probably a legitimate loss.
Anasta - Came busted, left busted. This one is more about recruitment gambles than player exodus.
Richards - Aged, but put in two good years.
Galloway - On the decline and good timing for a Super League contract.
Moltzen - How many games did he play since Sheens left?

I think that is actually a pretty good list of decisions, myself. Ellis I missed the most, but he was honestly in the declining phase of his career too. Benji, well that just has Tim Brasher written all over it, a guy who really didn’t want to leave, but his own ego/importance didn’t permit him to stay.

If you take the list of exits from any club, it’s going to be big enough and have some notable names.

Finally the idea that Tedesco would automatically go wherever Brooks and Moses went… ridiculous. For starters, who leaves their jobs just because their mates leave? Also, as a fan, I only care about player friendships if it produces cohesion and results. The old Tigers “in club” was full of strong friendships that ultimately resulted in laziness, politicking and under-performance.

Show me a club that could make cap space for all 3 of Tedesco, Moses and Brooks. Not happening.

@jirskyr:

I think the opening few paragraphs of the article are spot on.

Sentiment on Brooks/Moses has cooled, and so it should have, because they are not really playing to a level matching their current salary. Theirs is a salary of potential as much as anything, but we as fans do understand that with boom young juniors, that is the way these things work. The second contract is more true to value.

Benny Elias’ comments are not helpful, correct, but he then re-quotes Benny.

The fall of Sheens and his final team-cutting measures were the start of the phase we are still in. When management under pressure starts to change strategy, it can create big issues down the line, because they start acting for their own short-term good, rather than long-term business good.

Where the journo’s argument starts to unravel is the back half of the article. Many of the departures listed are actually good decisions, the cutting of players not performing to potential, the shake-up of a once-golden era of players.

His list of “top quality exits” has the caveat “for one reason or another”. In other words, he’s trying to make a point of the size of the list alone, rather than an analysis of its content. Just quickly:

Marshall - Overpaid, on the decline.
Fulton - Retired due to repeat concussions. Not how we would have had it.
Ellis - Went home!
Ayshford - Not up to scratch.
Tuqiri - Aging and injury-prone, had maybe 10 good games for the Rabbits.
Blair - Everyone knows this one already.
Koroibete - Probably a legitimate loss.
Anasta - Came busted, left busted. This one is more about recruitment gambles than player exodus.
Richards - Aged, but put in two good years.
Galloway - On the decline and good timing for a Super League contract.
Moltzen - How many games did he play since Sheens left?

I think that is actually a pretty good list of decisions, myself. Ellis I missed the most, but he was honestly in the declining phase of his career too. Benji, well that just has Tim Brasher written all over it, a guy who really didn’t want to leave, but his own ego/importance didn’t permit him to stay.

Finally the idea that Tedesco would automatically go wherever Brooks and Moses went… ridiculous. For starters, who leaves their jobs just because their mates leave? Also, as a fan, I only care about player friendships if it produces cohesion and results. The old Tigers “in club” was full of strong friendships that ultimately resulted in laziness, politicking and under-performance.

Show me a club that could make cap space for all 3 of Tedesco, Moses and Brooks. Not happening.

Clubs like Broncos, Roosters, Manly, Storm, Souths or Dogs would find a way to fit in all 3 if they thought it would win them a competition, that is they way they are run. I think the Roosters got the spoon one year and they brought in players to get them to the top four the next year. Most likely to find room for all 3 would be the Bulldogs considering their current roster and needs.

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