The NRL is set to crack down on players breaking contracts to sign bigger deals with rival clubs.
It comes amid a number of situations where players have broken their existing deals, often citing family or personal reasons, and then signing with a rival club on an upgraded deal.
The Daily Telegraphreports the ARL Commission will meet on Wednesday to discuss a new rule which stipulates that if a player does break their existing contract for whatever reason, they must not sign with a rival for more money.
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Using Josh Aloiai merely as an example and not to suggest his concerns with the club weren’t legitimate, he requested a release from the final year of his Tigers contract to then take up a three-year offer from Manly. The new deal was reportedly worth much more than what he was earning at the Tigers. Under the new rule, Aloiai would receive the same salary for his first year at Manly that he would have received in his final contracted year with the Tigers.
Aloiai is certainly not the first player to cash in on breaking a contract. Blake Green earned a pay rise when he got a release from Manly to join the Warriors, as did David Klemmer who walked out on the Bulldogs to join the Knights.
The Tigers have been victim to the ploy before Aloiai as well with star back-rower Ryan Matterson reportedly receiving a hefty pay rise when he joined the Eels.
The constant breaking of contracts forced Tigers chairman Lee Hagipentalis to seek change.
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NRL.com reported a fortnight ago that Hagipentalis would meet with NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to urge a rule change.
“My personal view is that if it’s a release on whatever grounds, the player should not be seeking to gain a commercial advantage elsewhere,” Hagipentalis told NRL.com.
“If it’s legitimate compassionate grounds it should be treated as such, with the respect and discretion it deserves.
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“But if there’s a player earning more money by getting that release, the inference is that compassionate grounds are being used to exit a contract to seek a commercial advantage. That should not be allowed to occur.”
The new rule being considered by the ARLC would separate players who are seeking a release for genuine reasons and those who are eyeing an upgraded deal elsewhere.