With $1.025 billion on the table and more to come, National Rugby League players are on the verge of becoming some of the very best paid sportsmen in Australia.
With rumours continuing to circulate that AFL convert Israel Folau will return to the NRL, who can knock the kid for taking the money in the first place?
It’s a fait accompli that the former Kangaroo and State of Origin superstar will return to the game that made him famous. Whether it is in 2013 or beyond, it seems Folau is quite the savvy businessman.
His hiatus in the rival code has made him an estimated $6 million. When the GWS Giant does come back, he will return to a far more lucrative arena. Who’s the fool now?
Speculation has arisen after former Newcastle Knights star Matthew Johns said Folau was on his way out of Blacktown and straight back into the NRL.
“Israel Folau will be out of his GWS contract by September” Johns said on Triple M last month.
“They’re negotiating a release right now, and next year, he will be playing in the NRL in Sydney.
“Given the urgency of the Luke Lewis situation, maybe it’s the Panthers, but another guy said to me it will be the Bulldogs.
“The Bulldogs are the richest club in the league.
“They have got huge amounts of money, so if there is one club that is able to buy Israel Folau – financially alone – it is the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
“It would be a big attraction for Israel.”
Sonny Bill Williams is a definite starter for the Sydney Roosters next season after a sabbatical in rugby union. SBW controversially left the Bulldogs in 2008 for a move to French rugby before winning a World Cup with the All Blacks last year.
Williams will return on big money and a different landscape.
These are the new age hired guns of the west.
Rooster Mitchell Pearce hit the nail on the head after the announcement yesterday of the biggest TV deal rugby league had ever secured.
”It’s good for the game being able to compete with the other codes now, so guys can stay in league” Pearce said at Roosters training on Tuesday.
”It’s a good time to be young and playing rugby league, I suppose. It might mean more kids choosing rugby league ahead of AFL and that.
”We’ve seen way too many players leave the game young, because there’s more money or opportunity overseas or in other codes. But this will make for a better and more competitive premiership.”
Sonny Bill is back and Izzy is next.
Prepare for a crazy new world in the NRL. If you thought loyalty was dead before, get ready for a whole new ball game.
But who could seriously blame them?