Every dollar Greg Inglis receives above market rate for his new post-playing job is likely to be added to South Sydney’s salary cap over the next two years.
The NRL is expected to hand down a determination this week on the level of salary cap dispensation it will provide the Rabbitohs after Inglis opted to prematurely retire. In opting to end his stellar career with more than a season-and-a-half remaining on his contract, "GI" effectively walked away from about $1.5 million.
Does the cap fit? Retired South Sydney legend Greg Inglis.Credit:AAP
Souths have offered him an off-field position that includes work as a development coach, an indigenous player mentor as well as a role in the club’s charity arm, Souths Cares. Rival clubs are watching the situation with interest as the decision will set a precedent for the game. Options open to the governing body include putting the entire $1.5 million under the salary cap, a portion of that amount or none at all.
While a range of alternatives have been considered, the Sun-Herald understands the NRL is leaning towards make Souths include every dollar considered above the worth of Inglis’ new role in their salary cap. For example, if the salary auditor determined the going rate for Inglis off-field work is $100,000 and the club decided to pay him $500,000, Souths would have to carry the $400,000 difference under the salary cap.
Such a determination would leave Souths in an intriguing position. Effectively, it would mean the less they pay Inglis in his post-football career, the more money they would have to spend on his replacement or on other players. But given the tremendous service the iconic footballer has given the club and the game – and considering the seven-figure sum he left on the table – club officials are mindful of not underpaying Inglis for his new job.
The Rabbitohs will likely offer Inglis a job that will result in them only having to carry a few hundred-thousand dollars under their salary cap.
Such an outcome will likely spark outrage from rival clubs. While some club bosses are happy for Souths not to pay any salary cap price for Inglis' departure, others believe they should be made to include the majority – if not all – of his playing contract.
The two-time Dally M winner has been assessed as medically fit to play but has chosen not to, citing physical issues and a lack of desire. The timing means Souths could replace Inglis before the June 30 deadline, with out-of-favour Bronco James Roberts expected to fill the void.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, several clubs powerbrokers said Souths should foot the entire Inglis bill in their salary cap after offering the aging star a long and lucrative contract despite his injury history.
"There has to be a consequence for those type of signing decisions," one recruitment manager said. "Every club has a couple of blokes they will now want to retire and this will open a can of worms."
Roberts has fallen out of favour in Brisbane, despite being contracted until the end of 2021. He played his best football under former Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, earning a NSW jumper last year. He has again been involved in off-field incidents this season and his relationship with new Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has deteriorated.
Roberts has previously been sacked by the Rabbitohs but a close confidant, uncle and former NRL star Amos Roberts, has met with Bennett to discuss a potential reunion.
With Souths to emerge from Inglis' retirement relatively unscathed from a salary cap perspective, the Rabbitohs will have more than enough money to lure Roberts.
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