Politis slams ‘jealous’ Roosters critics over salary cap jibes
September 26, 2019 — 8
Nick Politis has hit out at the critics behind the Roosters’ so called “salary sombrero” as “jealous” and believes Trent Robinson “might catch up” to supercoach Jack Gibson’s record of five premiership wins.
The Roosters and Melbourne clash in a replay of last year’s grand final on Saturday for the right to play in this season’s decider. The clubs have been the most dominant of the NRL era, with Politis the driving force behind the tricolours for more than four decades.
The Roosters chairman - whose personal wealth surged $290 million in two months according to a recent Australian Financial Review report - has always kept a relatively low profile.
However, Politis opened up to Roosters Radio in a wide-ranging interview in which he compared Robinson and Gibson and addressed the constant scuttlebutt about the Roosters paying players outside of the salary cap.
“It doesn’t worry me, it’s just jealousy,” Politis told the podcast when asked about the “salary sombrero” jibes. "We manage our list and salary cap well because when you look at our players - we’ve got 23 players out of the current top 30 list since they were in under 20s. Therefore, when you run your salary cap that way, you come out with a much better result rather than buying from outside.
"When you buy from outside all the time, you tend to pay more.
"Of course we got [James] Tedesco and Cooper Cronk, but most of our players come from within. That’s a much more efficient way of managing your salary cap and staying within the cap.
“That’s the trick. But we’ve got that profile - the Eastern Suburbs high profile, high roller - so everybody just bags (us) and has a go at us because basically they’re bloody jealous. So who cares? Let them.”
The Roosters have long had a reputation for poaching stars from other clubs. Cronk, Tedesco, Angus Crichton and Luke Keary are some of the marquee signings in the current squad. However, Politis said the premiers had a proven track record for nurturing talent.
“If you look at our club, we’ve got everyone bagging us for whatever reason,” he said. "We’re very good at developing players. Someone was telling me today that out of our top 30 list this year, 23 players have been with us from under 20s and 18 have been with us from under 18s.
"That’s 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds. To have 18 players in our top 30 to join the club when they were under 18 and 23 when they are under 20, that says it all.
“That’s what we’re very good at doing. Robbo is very good at that too, developing players. That’s why we manage to have a good squad and a good list.”
Legendary coach Gibson enjoyed two of his five grand finals while at the Roosters, while Robinson has already earned two premierships early in his career with the clipboard. Asked to compare the mentors, Politis said: "They are both great guys.
"One has got five grand finals - two with us, three with Parramatta - but then Robbo has got two, so he’s on the way. He’s only just over 40 [Robinson is 42 years old], so he’s got a few years. He might catch up to the great Jack.
"Different times too now, it’s different to when Jack was coaching. There’s a lot more science in everything now, a lot more money, everyone is much fitter and so on.
"They are different eras, it’s very hard to compare them. They’re both great. We’re very lucky, of course, to have Robbo, a blessing to have him on board.
“I hope he’s with us for many, many years to come. Who knows, over the next 10-15 years, he might get up to Jack’s total of five.”
Politis conceded he hoped the Roosters would have stayed on the opposite side of the draw to Melbourne so they wouldn’t meet before the decider.
“To me it’s like a mini grand final, we’re playing the grand final a week early,” he said.