New salary cap plan Â Â * By Phil Rothfield Â Â * From: The Sunday Telegraph Â Â * May 01, 2010 http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/new-salary-cap-plan/story-e6frexnr-1225860995509 THE NRL has indicated it may introduce salary cap discounts for players with more than five years service at one club next season - but it still wouldn't prevent Melbourne Storm from breaking the cap by over $400,000 with their current roster. A concession system that would kick in once a player has spent five seasons at one club would provide discounts of up to 50 per cent on contracts, reward loyalty and encourage clubs to develop players. NRL boss David Gallop last night said he would welcome discussions on improving the cap, saying: "The current system is not fool proof and we are open to looking at it. Maybe it's something we could consider doing rather than just raising the cap next time." Under The Sunday Telegraph plan, clubs would get a discount of 10 per cent on five-year players, 20 per cent on seven-year players and 50 per cent on 10-year stalwarts. STORM CRISIS UNDER a discount system, Melbourne Storm would still be over the cap by $425,000 on our estimates of current player salaries. Coach Craig Bellamy would have to offload two players worth a total of $425,000 instead of four players worth the $850,000 that they are over the cap right now. Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. The club would get $120,000 discounts on superstars Billy Slater and Cameron Smith. Ryan Hoffman and Greg Inglis would also get $60,000 discounts for long service and it would effectively silence the critics who have been blaming the system for the Storm's blatant cheating. CLUB STALWARTS UNDER this system, two legends of the game would not have been lost to the English Super League at the end of the 2008 season. The Sea Eagles could have retained Steve Menzies and the Knights could have kept Danny Buderus. Both could have been paid what they are earning in England - $400,000 a season - with their NRL club only paying half by registering them in the cap for $200,000 a season. The rest of their money could be picked up by someone like mining magnate Nathan Tinkler in the Knights' case and Max Delmege or a sponsor in Manly's case. Corey Hughes would never have left the Bulldogs to play his final season at Cronulla because he would have had a 50 per cent discount in the cap. "Corey played over 200 first-grade games across 12 seasons at the Bulldogs," said CEO Todd Greenberg. "He was a local junior, the heart and soul of the club and adored by his team-mates. "In a perfect world for both the club and the player he would have finished his career in the blue and white jersey." Parramatta would also be able to retain players like Eric Grothe, Feleti Mateo and Krisnan Inu because Luke Burt, Nathan Hindmarsh and Nathan Cayless would all be entitled to 50 per cent discounts. SAFEGUARD OBVIOUSLY overall player payments would rise, but to prevent clubs from going broke by outlaying too much money on long-serving stars, they would be limited to spending $300,000 in discounts. Anything extra would have to come from club sponsors in third-party agreements. CODE SWITCHERS A PLAYER like Storm star Billy Slater would be unlikely to jump ship to play AFL or rugby union. He could earn $700,000 in rugby league from the Storm and sponsors but go into the cap at only $560,000. To a lesser extent, it would also help keep Israel Folau and Johnathan Thurston because their clubs would have money available from what they saved on discounts for others. ROOKIES THE onus would be on clubs to either develop their own juniors or put the right recruitment and talent identification programs in place. Clubs like the Roosters, with a tiny junior league, would want to sign more players like hooker Jake Friend, who they plucked from Queensland's Sunshine Coast at the age of 16 and then nurtured into a first-grade player. By the time he is in his mid-20s, the Roosters would get a 20 per cent discount as a reward for putting so much coaching and preparation into his career. DAVID GALLOP NRL boss David Gallop said a similar plan put twice by Broncos boss Bruno Cullen to chief executive conferences did not get enough support to warrant taking it any further. "Clubs have rejected concessions in the past in favour of straight increases on the cap that are equally available to every club and allow each club to decide whether to keep experienced players or buy players, depending on their roster," he said. "Concessions are increases in the club spend and many clubs have said they are not able to afford increases while the gap between the cap and the grant remains quite large - at the moment it's $4.2m versus $3.35m. "But all this is open to debate among the clubs."