'You have to be tapped': Roosters crunch, seven stars command half of salary cap as upgrades loom

‘You have to be tapped’: Roosters crunch, seven stars command half of salary cap as upgrades loom

The Sydney Roosters are facing a salary cap crisis, reporting that $5.2 million of their salary cap is tied up in seven players with more due for contract upgrades in 2023.

The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield has revealed the Roosters have seven players in the NRL’s top 100 players, which could be a problem with some rising stars getting contract upgrades in the off-season.

“We’ve come up with the 100 highest-paid players in the competition and it shows the Roosters with their list will have some pressure on the ceiling,” Rothfield told NRL 360.

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“In 2022, they acquired Tedesco at $1.1 million, Luke Keary at $850,000, Joseph Manu ($720,000), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($700,000), Angus Crichton ($700,000), Sio Siua Taukeiaho ( $625,000) and Victor Radley ($625,000) $510,000) for a total of $5,205,000.

“The cap in 2021 is only $9.4 million, so there are a lot of underpaid players.

“The problem for the Roosters is they’re going to have to throw in Brandon Smith next year and you’ve got to throw in Joseph Suaalii, who’s on $700,000 next year.”

“The other problem is that Sam Walker is out of contract next year and as you know there aren’t many great young halves around so he will have to get some serious money.

Paul Kent has questioned how the Roosters can pay the other 23 players in their squad less than half of what their seven highest-paid stars earn.


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James Tedesco is one of seven Roosters stars in the top 100 highest-paid NRL players.Source: Getty Images

“How do you get 23 more players for $4.2 million?” Kent asked.

“That’s a lot of money in seven players.

Braith Anasta asked Rothfield if he believes the Roosters will need to let some of their big earners go to build a successful 2023 squad.

“Are you saying the Roosters are under some pressure on the salary cap and it’s going to be hard for them to keep everyone next year?” Anasta asked.

Rothfield spoke to Roosters boss Nick Politis about the state of the Roosters’ salary cap until 2023.

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“Angus Crichton isn’t on that list and his contract hasn’t been registered for 2023 yet, so if you put Angus Crichton in there, it goes up to almost $6 million,” Rothfield said.

“I talked to Nick Politis today and his position on the salary cap is this. Boyd Cordner was medically retired, which took $720,000 off their salary cap.

“There were some smaller players that they let go, Sam Verills, Ronald Volkman, Lachlan Lam, Siosiua Taukeiaho and Daniel Suluka-Fifita went to Souths.

“So with those players including Taukeiah they lost probably $1.5 million.

“I still think it’s going to be a squeeze, without setting any alarm bells for our players or fans, I think there’s going to be a few who need to be tapped.”

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However, Brent Read revealed that the salary cap is set to increase by at least $1.5 million in 2023 and beyond.

“We should say the cap hasn’t been set for next year and it’s going to go up,” Read said.

“There is a big meeting on Thursday between the NRL and the club CEO about the salary cap.

“I think it will grow to at least $12 million next year.”

However, Anasta believes that as it stands it looks like some players will have to take a pay cut to keep the squad together.

“When I look at it, they can’t be in the market for anybody,” Anasta said.

“They are unlikely to be looking for new players and a few players may have to take a pay cut if they want to stay there as it seems.”

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