Infotainment Factory: 'I'd throw my ring away, quit the club'

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Saturday, 9 March 2019

'I'd throw my ring away, quit the club'


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Paul Gallen says he would walk out on the Sharks and rugby league if Cronulla’s 2016 premiership was ever stripped over salary cap issues.

Cronulla escaped that fate despite the NRL uncovering $700,000 in discrepancies from 2013-18 after the club self-reported a $50,000 discrepancy.

There have been persistent accusations that the Sharks’ historic premiership is tainted, and that the club may well have been over the cap for 2016, despite the NRL insisting the club was compliant.

Gallen told Sports Sunday that he would feel compelled to walk away from Cronulla and the game if he lost a premiership due to poor administration from his club.

“If we got it taken off us, I would throw my ring away and I would quit the club immediately. It just wouldn’t sit well with me if we were to have it taken off us,” Gallen said.

“Here’s what frustrates me about situations like this and situations we’ve gone through before at the club. It’s not my job, it’s not a player’s job, to go to every single player and say, ‘How much money do you earn? Do you get a third-party payment? Where do you get it from? How does it work?’

“It’s not my job, it’s the administration’s job to do it. We’ve been let down by administration once again, but who cops it? The players. Who’s sitting here today answering questions? Me. The player, the captain of the club.

“Who is now going to play with an inferior team for them next two years? The players. While the administrators who made the wrong call just get to move on. That’s what frustrates me about it.”

Gallen said he was comfortable that Cronulla’s premiership was safe and that he didn’t care about claims of a tainted title.

“People can say that, people have their opinion, that’s fine,” he said.

“The fact is we were under the salary cap in 2016; even with the intended third-party payments, we were still under the salary cap.

“So I have no issue with it. Read it in the record books: we are there, it’s there to stay. The NRL have dealt with it, they’ve done a massive eight-month investigation into it, they’ve gone through our books inside and out, they’ve found everything that has to be found, and it is there to stay.”

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith has asked whether the NRL should reinvestigate the decision to strip the Storm of the 2007 and 2009 premierships due to salary cap rorting; which amounted to $3.7 million over five years. Smith noted that the NRL had investigated Cronulla for nine months before reaching a decision, where the Storm lost their titles within 48 hours.

“I will say this to Cam: be very careful what you wish for. We went in and self-reported a $50,000 discrepancy, the CEO thought that’s all it was. It turned out to be a $700,000 discrepancy,” Gallen said.

“You maybe don’t want the NRL going back and searching those books, particularly when they were found to be $3.7 million over the salary cap over five years. Three of those years they were $1 million over the salary cap.”

Gallen said he sympathised with Melbourne’s stripped players, given they were found blameless by the NRL and paid the price for the actions of officials such as disgraced former chief executive Brian Waldron.

“I think it’s extremely hard on them, I really do,” Gallen said.

“As a player, what Melbourne would have gone through that year as a playing group and the way they would have come together and played, the ups and downs they would have gone through throughout that season, and then go on to win the premiership and have it taken off them, it would be absolutely devastating.

“I can totally understand it, without a doubt. But the reason I can understand that is because they’re players, I’m a player. It’s not their fault, it’s not their decision to go and ask every single player what they’re earning, where you’re getting your money from, what’s happening. It’s the administration’s fault.

“When you go back to the Melbourne days, the famous quote was there’s been rats in our ranks, because that’s what they had done. People in the administration had done the wrong thing, and ultimately the players had paid for it by taking their premierships away.”

Paul Gallen says he would walk out on the Sharks and rugby league if Cronulla’s 2016 premiership was ever stripped over salary cap issues.

Cronulla escaped that fate despite the NRL uncovering $700,000 in discrepancies from 2013-18 after the club self-reported a $50,000 discrepancy.

There have been persistent accusations that the Sharks’ historic premiership is tainted, and that the club may well have been over the cap for 2016, despite the NRL insisting the club was compliant.

Gallen told Sports Sunday that he would feel compelled to walk away from Cronulla and the game if he lost a premiership due to poor administration from his club.

“If we got it taken off us, I would throw my ring away and I would quit the club immediately. It just wouldn’t sit well with me if we were to have it taken off us,” Gallen said.

“Here’s what frustrates me about situations like this and situations we’ve gone through before at the club. It’s not my job, it’s not a player’s job, to go to every single player and say, ‘How much money do you earn? Do you get a third-party payment? Where do you get it from? How does it work?’

“It’s not my job, it’s the administration’s job to do it. We’ve been let down by administration once again, but who cops it? The players. Who’s sitting here today answering questions? Me. The player, the captain of the club.

“Who is now going to play with an inferior team for them next two years? The players. While the administrators who made the wrong call just get to move on. That’s what frustrates me about it.”

Gallen said he was comfortable that Cronulla’s premiership was safe and that he didn’t care about claims of a tainted title.

“People can say that, people have their opinion, that’s fine,” he said.

“The fact is we were under the salary cap in 2016; even with the intended third-party payments, we were still under the salary cap.

“So I have no issue with it. Read it in the record books: we are there, it’s there to stay. The NRL have dealt with it, they’ve done a massive eight-month investigation into it, they’ve gone through our books inside and out, they’ve found everything that has to be found, and it is there to stay.”

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith has asked whether the NRL should reinvestigate the decision to strip the Storm of the 2007 and 2009 premierships due to salary cap rorting; which amounted to $3.7 million over five years. Smith noted that the NRL had investigated Cronulla for nine months before reaching a decision, where the Storm lost their titles within 48 hours.

“I will say this to Cam: be very careful what you wish for. We went in and self-reported a $50,000 discrepancy, the CEO thought that’s all it was. It turned out to be a $700,000 discrepancy,” Gallen said.

“You maybe don’t want the NRL going back and searching those books, particularly when they were found to be $3.7 million over the salary cap over five years. Three of those years they were $1 million over the salary cap.”

Gallen said he sympathised with Melbourne’s stripped players, given they were found blameless by the NRL and paid the price for the actions of officials such as disgraced former chief executive Brian Waldron.

“I think it’s extremely hard on them, I really do,” Gallen said.

“As a player, what Melbourne would have gone through that year as a playing group and the way they would have come together and played, the ups and downs they would have gone through throughout that season, and then go on to win the premiership and have it taken off them, it would be absolutely devastating.

“I can totally understand it, without a doubt. But the reason I can understand that is because they’re players, I’m a player. It’s not their fault, it’s not their decision to go and ask every single player what they’re earning, where you’re getting your money from, what’s happening. It’s the administration’s fault.

“When you go back to the Melbourne days, the famous quote was there’s been rats in our ranks, because that’s what they had done. People in the administration had done the wrong thing, and ultimately the players had paid for it by taking their premierships away.”

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