x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Smith backs salary cap increase

Cameron Smith, the Melbourne Storm captain, has welcomed reports the NRL will soon increase the salary cap by A$50,000 (Dh166,000).

Cameron Smith, the Melbourne Storm captain, has welcomed reports the NRL will soon increase the salary cap by A$50,000 (Dh166,000) as the calls from players to do more to retain top-end talent grows. Speaking ahead of today's Anzac Test against New Zealand, Smith echoed the thoughts of several players who have urged the NRL to act to ensure Israel Folau does not become the latest rugby league star to switch codes or head overseas. "We can't keep letting these superstars of our game go," he said.

Having named Mark Gasnier, Sonny Bill Williams, Craig Gower and Craig Wing as examples of players who have turned their backs on the NRL to earn more money playing rugby overseas, on top of the countless players to have headed to England for bigger pay packets, Smith said enough is enough. "I think it's a pretty sensible idea [to increase the salary cap]," he said. "I think everyone that follows our game would agree with me ... you look at the guys that have left our game, it's pretty sad really."

"They're huge losses to our game and we need to do something about it." * Agencies