IN 2014, the top 25 players at each NRL club share a salary cap of $5.5 million.
That represents an average of $220,000 per player - a damn good earn by anyone's assessment.
For what it's worth, the base salary of our Prime Minister is around $500,000 a year, and the average Australian annual wage is $72,000.
Admittedly, the PM has perks and his real earnings are obviously well above that figure, but the top NRL players have other benefits too.
For instance, a marquee allowance of $600,000 for each club is permitted, and can be paid to one or a number of players.
And let's not forget the other bonuses - Origin players earn $30,000 a game and a Test is worth $40,000. Win a World Cup or a Tri Nations tournament like the one at the end of this season and another $50,000 jumps into the wallet.
From time to time, amounts concerning what a player is paid are bandied about, but only those paying or being paid are aware of the exact figure.
But $1 million a year to the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis would be close to the mark.
The burning question is, are they worth it?
Not so much those big names, but the middle-of-the-road players who are earning two to three times what our nurses, teachers, police officers and paramedics are paid. From some of the about-face performances we have seen of late, maybe fans would have more confidence in their team if players were paid on results, like the good old days of a sign-on fee and a winning bonus. Perhaps then there would be fewer renditions of 'we didn't turn up to play'.
Some teams this season have been just plain scatty.
Why, for instance, can't the Cowboys win away from home, and how can the shambolic Sharks come from 22-nil and 24-nil down respectively to win in successive weeks, and then lead 18-nil the next week and get beaten? And why do the Broncos, with the career of their coach on the line, suddenly open the floodgates last Monday night and double their game points-conceded average of 16?
From the outside looking in, it appears that a salary cap which enables rugby league players to become overnight millionaires has created one almighty comfort zone.
And as a fan, I'm uncomfortable with that.
YES, yes, yes
THE 'Rise for Alex' weekend has seemingly galvanised the rugby league community behind a young man who can be best described as simply inspirational.
NO, no no
IF BRONCOS players are genuine in their support for besieged coach Anthony Griffin, they need to show it through actions, not words.
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