Rugby league legend Peter Sterling has backed the NRL to crack down on clubs trying to poach contracted players on more money while they are still signed to another club.
Recent reports suggest the NRL is looking at banning the practice of clubs offering more money to players to change allegiances mid-contract.
Josh Addo-Carr is the latest high-profile name expected to be granted a release by the Melbourne Storm at the end of the season on compassionate grounds, however he has also expressed his desire to make a lucrative switch to fullback at his new club.
This brought leading NRL analyst Phil Gould to speculate that managers are behind players like Addo-Carr and Valentine Holmes pushing for moves into positions - like fullback - that demand big-money contracts.
Gould has been critical of that trend, with Sterling adding weight to the argument against it. “I think it is blight on our game,” "Josh Addo-Carr has made it clear in the last couple of weeks that he’d like to play fullback elsewhere, possibly at one stage was coming back to Sydney for family reasons.
"We’re also learning that part of that may be motivated by earning a lot more money playing in that new position, and I would like to see the NRL come in.
“We’ve seen it with other players, leaving when they believe that their value is more than what they’re getting.”
Sterling said there needs to be greater accountability by both players and clubs that they stick to the contracts they sign, and end the off-field negotiation games.
“Don’t sign the contract. When it comes to contracts it works both ways - for a club, don’t sign a player for a length of time for that amount of money unless you expect them to honour it for that amount of time and that amount of money, and if you’re a player don’t put your name down if you’re not happy with the money,” he said. "Not just rugby league, but the world would be a better place if contracts were honoured and they were worth the paper they were written on.
"In an ideal world, we just want everybody to honour the commitment that they’ve made. I think fans would certainly appreciate that. “It would make things clearer in the game. I’m a fan of it.”