Chiefs on warpath in Orford cap scrap By Andrew Webster July 10, 2005 The Sun-Herald South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson will demand the NRL launch a salary cap investigation if Melbourne Storm halfback Matt Orford signs with Manly. Orford will tell Richardson on Tuesday if he will join Souths next season, although he is also being pursued by Manly and Melbourne. The Sea Eagles tabled a formal offer to Orford on Tuesday and The Sun-Herald understands it is $300,000 a season - well short of offers from the Storm and Souths. The Rabbitohs are believed to have offered Orford $450,000, plus an additional $50,000 from a third party as one of their two marquee players. The Storm offer is understood to be $430,000 a season. With Bulldogs five-eighth Braith Anasta tipped to announce he will join the Roosters next season, Orford has become Souths' No.1 priority. Richardson yesterday called on NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert to investigate if Orford signs with Manly. "They should be investigated, absolutely," he said. "If this happens, it's ludicrous. I don't understand how they can sign Bell and Orford. In our case, everyone understands we have money to spend under the salary cap. "I don't mind being knocked off, but the whole idea of the cap ... it will be a miracle for them to fit him in ... simple as that. "I'd like to think Ian Schubert and his eagle eyes would have a close look if they signed Orford." Privately, some are bemused that the Sea Eagles are still keen to lure Orford after re-signing captain and halfback Michael Monaghan last month for $250,000 a season and securing Orford's Storm teammate Steve Bell on Friday. Manly executive director Paul Cummings said the Orford offer was made "in discussions" with Schubert. NRL chief executive David Gallop was tight-lipped when asked about Manly's offer to Orford. "The salary cap auditor will be monitoring Manly's cap position like he does every other club," he said. It was widely believed that Manly had dropped out of the race for Orford after they re-signed Monaghan, which came amid claims that the Sea Eagles had breached anti-tampering regulations. But it's understood former coach Bob Fulton, who has huge influence at the club, remains adamant behind the scenes about the club continuing to pursue Orford. Cummings scoffed at Richardson's claim that his club would breach the salary cap if it signed Orford. "I have to say I am a little surprised and disappointed at those comments," Cummings said. "It seems like he's feeling bitter at not being able to sign anyone." Cummings also added that Manly had "a significant" amount of cash remaining under their salary cap this year. Orford's manager George Mimis said Manly's rumoured $300,000 offer "was not accurate", but he would not speculate on the offer. Storm chief executive Brian Waldron said it was presumptuous of Richardson to ask the NRL to launch an investigation into a salary cap breach before it had occurred. "I don't think Shane Richardson should be questioning due process," he said. "If Manly signed six Origin greats, we would have faith in the NRL to determine what's right and wrong."