Manly Salary Cap Speculation???

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Orford reveals Manly bonanza
By Andrew Webster
July 24, 2005
The Sun-Herald


Manly are facing renewed pressure over the signing of Matt Orford after it was revealed he has told Storm teammates his deal with the Sea Eagles is worth $690,000 a season.

While the Sea Eagles vehemently denied any wrongdoing during the week, their signing of the in-demand Melbourne playmaker continues to reverberate around the game.

Manly insist they have signed Orford for four years on a deal worth $450,000 a season.

But The Sun-Herald has learnt that Orford has been explaining the intimate details of his Manly package to his Melbourne teammates, telling them the offer was too good to refuse.

It is understood he has told them the deal includes:

 $520,000 a season, over four years.

 A car worth $20,000 a season.

 A total of $450,000 in third-party payments from three Manly supporters, who were asked to provide $50,000 each over three years.

It is also understood that a crucial aspect of the deal was the relationship between Orford's manager, George Mimis, and Robbie Delmege, the son of Sea Eagles major sponsor Max Delmege.

Robbie Delmege is believed to have secured $50,000 each from three Manly sponsors over three years.

He was heard during the final State of Origin game in Brisbane discussing his involvement in the deal.

Robbie Delmege did not deny that he was involved in the Orford deal when contacted by The Sun-Herald yesterday.

"I can't talk about that at all," he said. "I'd like to, but I can't."

When asked about his relationship with Mimis, he said: "I am friends with George. I prepare a lot of property investment propositions for his players."

Mimis hotly rejected the $690,0000 figure, and that Robbie Delmege was an important part of negotiations, although he said he was a "colleague".

"That figure is completely false," Mimis said. "These things are nothing but part of a vicious attack from an element within the game which has been trying to destabilise our company [SFX Sports] and Matt Orford in a calculated campaign over 12 months."

Manly denied speculation late last week that a flat had been part of the package to Orford.

Orford told a news conference on Thursday that "one of the reasons [for signing with Manly] was obviously commercial" and he had constantly maintained he didn't want to leave the Storm.

The comments have bemused some, as Orford appears to have accepted an offer at Manly that is less than the $480,000 a year available at the Storm and the $500,000 from the Rabbitohs.

The NRL is waiting for Manly to lodge his contract with salary cap auditor Ian Schubert for scrutiny.

NRL chief executive David Gallop said the league would be "looking into the matter".

"We've noted the comments from Manly during the week," he said. "At this stage, no contract has been lodged with the salary cap auditor but when one is, the salary cap auditor will no doubt look into the matter. We would expect it soon."

Manly executive director Paul Cummings denied the Orford package was worth $690,000.

"It's $1.8 million over four years," he said.

"Anyone suggesting that the Manly RLFC is paying Matt Orford more than the $1.8 million over four years would want to be very sure of their facts."

Cummings said he expected to give Schubert a copy of the contract this week.

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