Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hey Schultz, There's No Strudel On The Eastern Front

Hiya folks, back in 2006 I did a comment article over at the Bulldogs Debate Page about the Warriors getting sanctioned over salary cap indescretions in the National Rugby League.  Below is the rejigged article bringing it up to date.  The italics are the major additions to the original.

In 2002 the Bulldogs were investigated for serious breaches of the NRL salary cap. After being found guilty they suffered a significant monetary fine and the loss of all of the competition points they had amassed that season (37). This killed them off for 2002; drove sponsors away and the drama fed the electronic and print media for months. This all was spurred on by a ‘dob-in’. The Bulldogs had previously been cleared after an audit of their salary cap expenditure by the NRL auditor.

In 2006 the NZ Warriors were investigated for serious breaches of the salary cap. They were found guilty and suffered a significant monetary fine and the loss of four competition points. This affected their Final 8 chances as they missed out by 4 points on reaching the mark. They would have slipped in on a better for and against point’s record ahead of Parramatta. They may have possibly won the Premiership; not likely but they were still a chance. Media interest was very light in this case over which none of the hungry scribblers of 2002 raised a smidgin of blotted sweat. This case was spurred on by the executives of the Warriors notifying the NRL that something was awry in the Warriors handling of their Salary Cap. It is speculation to suggest this was the result of a ‘tip off’ but it certainly wasn’t the result of some great sleuthing by the Salary Cap Auditor, Ian Schubert.

In 2010 the Melbourne Storm were found to have systematically rorted the salary cap over a five year period. Their penalty was to be stripped of two NRL Premierships, 3 Minor Premierships, 8 competition points, the possibility of gaining competition points in 2010, a fine of $500,000 and being forced to repay $1.1 million dollars in prize money.

There is a large disparity between the ‘crimes’ committed and the sanctions imposed. A 33 point disparity may seem too large. Fans will dispute the severity or otherwise of each club’s penalties and this will go on for years. A more reasonable penalty for the Warriors would have been 10 competition points which would allow the Warriors to avoid the wooden spoon and all but rule them out of Finals contention. Allowing them the chance (however unlikely) to win the competition after being found guilty just didn’t gel with some people. Also what doesn’t gel with Melbourne Storm's penalty is the farcical nature of teams having to compete against a team made up of players receiving illegal payments. Common thinking is that they should have been told to become immediately compliant under the salary cap taking whatever measures were necessary, lose the points accumulated up to the point they do become compliant and then be able to compete for competition points. The severity of the penalties will be a constant source of debate and will use up a lot of newsprint for the remainder of the NRL season.

In the wash up of the Warriors’ case another club was accused by one of its ex players of behaviour similar to that which led to the Warriors being penalised; offering post-retirement sinecures. Was that club investigated? Given its wealth of representative players were there any post – retirement deals made with any of its stars to circumvent the salary cap? Did Sergeant Schubert know? Not bloody likely, but that is a debatable point.

What isn’t in dispute however is that all three major breaches were not detected by the salary cap auditor, Ian Schubert.

Here I will use the comparison with Sergeant Schultz in Hogan’s Heroes who needs to be vigorously shaken by a prisoner and often prodded with his own rifle before waking up to the likes of Lebeau or Carter demanding his attention.  The offer of strudel always wins him over.  What he fears most is a transfer to the Russian Front.  Whilst I really like Schultz, the manifestation of his incompetence in real life makes me shudder.

Who’s to know how many tunnels have been dug by the wily Hogan under the sleepy eyes of Sergeant Schultz. How many supply trains have been blown up and how many bombs dropped on that ball bearing plant conveniently located just outside of Hammelburg and within striking distance of Stalag 13? How many nice German motor vehicles have been appropriated from the motor pool? Does Sergeant Schultz know? Ask him and see what he says. You remember his catch phrase. Shout it out loud and strong and within earshot of any NRL fan.

So here we have three very serious salary cap breaches and another alleged breach not uncovered by the auditor. So what purpose does this bloke serve? Sorry, it’s a rhetorical question so I won’t accept any nasty swearing in response. Schubert has to go. As does Gallop. While we’re at it lets clean out News Ltd from any management or executive roles within the NRL. They've screwed up NRL TV deals, are incapabl;e of managing a football code and should stick to "man bites dog" stories and taking photos of celebrity breasts. In the words of Havock, cap the fkn muppets!

Kinch, get on the radio to HQ and tell them Goldilocks has a plan.