Bulldogs bust the cap again By DEAN RITCHIE Rugby League Writer Daily Telegraph April 13, 2005 THE Bulldogs will today face a fine of almost $100,000 for breaking the NRL's $3.25 million salary cap yet again. The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Bulldogs are one of five clubs that have been caught by the NRL for overspending in last year's premiership. Penrith, Sydney Roosters, Melbourne and St George Illawarra have also been sprung by salary cap auditor Ian Schubert. Details of the Bulldogs' breach have been kept so secret that not even NRL board members, who will decide their punishment at a meeting today, have been briefed. Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad reluctantly conceded last night his club was facing a hefty fine. "I'm waiting to be officially informed by the NRL," Noad said. "I guess it will all come out after [today's] meeting." Schubert telephoned Noad and the other club CEOs yesterday to warn them of the impending drama. The Bulldogs' breach is significant but nowhere near the magnitude ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ and outright cheating ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ that led to the club being sensationally stripped of 37 competition points and fined $500,000 in 2002. The Daily Telegraph understands the Bulldogs' breach is a direct result of the off-field upheavals from the infamous Coffs Harbour affair last year. Clubs are allowed to claim 20 per cent ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ up to $200,000 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ over the $3.25m cap if they have grown their sponsorship base since 2001. Noad budgeted to spend the extra $200,000 but the Bulldogs lost so many sponsors due to the Coffs Harbour scandal the club could not justify the amount. But one rival official said last night: "[The Bulldogs] have overspent and they've been caught." Penrith were caught after loaning a player ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ believed to be fullback Rhys Wesser ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ $50,000 to a buy a house. The money was paid back but not in time ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ and the club is in breach. "That's where they have pinned us," said Penrith general manager of football operations Mick Leary. "It was an oversight in administration. The money was paid back but it came too late." Panthers chief executive Glenn Matthews added: "It was always declared. We made a mistake. It won't happen again." Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan admitted his club had been identified as one that had also breached the cap. "It is for a very small amount," Canavan said last night. "But I don't want to say much. I don't know how the board will view our situation." Melbourne officials were tight-lipped last night but their breach is understood to be about $30,000 through "combined dealings" dating back to 2001. The Dragons' breach revolves around the game's $300,000 second tier salary cap. St George Illawarra plan to tackle the NRL on the breach. "We are in debate with the NRL," said Dragons chief executive Peter Doust. "It is about the second tier salary cap but we don't know the outcome as yet. We believe the second tier payment is debatable." Doust said his club was over "by one player". He is claiming injuries last year played a role in his club exceeding the cap.