Five clubs have been handed fines for breaching the NRL salary cap in 2010, including champions St George-Illawarra.
One of the stories of last year saw Melbourne Storm stripped of their 2007 and 2009 titles as part of their punishment for cheating the salary cap for five seasons, although the other club breaches are much less severe.
The NRL confirmed that Wests Tigers ($187,140), Gold Coast ($76,380), Parramatta ($44,988), Canberra ($31,657) and St George Illawarra ($15,694) had breached the salary cap and been fined, and NRL chief executive David Gallop said the findings should act as a warning to all clubs.
He said: “The compliance across the vast majority of clubs has been encouraging but the penalties are a reminder that the salary cap will be enforced,” Gallop said.
“Six clubs were breached last year, most notably the Storm. It is pleasing to see the number down this year but the warning bells for anyone looking to break the rules could not be any louder.”
“For the most part we are seeing a genuine wish to comply with the rules from the clubs but this remains an area in which we are always conducting thorough investigations.
“The salary cap audit team works incredibly hard to monitor the clubs and deserves considerable recognition for the role it plays in making the Telstra Premiership the closest and most exciting competition in Australian sport.”
However, one of the punished clubs, Gold Coast Titans, may appeal their fine.
Titans Managing Director Michael Searle said: “The penalty is related to a minor infringement of our NRL salary cap, which was less than $5000,’’ said Searle.
“The club’s position was that it was under the salary cap until such time that state league match payments of $17,000 for one player were inadvertently not notified to the club.
“This had a flow-on effect to the NYC salary cap. The club has now reviewed what was a break down in internal process with its feeder clubs and will consider whether to appeal the severity of the fine.”