MEET the NRL’s top earners.
Using reported figures, including third party agreements and the marquee player allowance, NRL360 compiled a list of the top 10 highest paid players in the game.
North Queensland superstar Johnathan Thurston headlines the list, earning a reported $1.2 million a season.
The record four-time Dally M medal winner is contracted with the Cowboys until the end of 2017 but revealed to foxsports.com.au Market Watch in February that he was eager to extend his deal a further season.
Cowboys general manager of football Peter Parr joins Ben Ikin, Ben Glover and Nathan Ryan to pull back the curtain when it comes to recruiting and retaining NRL players.
“I know I’m only contracted for another two years but at this stage I’m enjoying my footy that much that I’ll be keen to go beyond that,” Thurston said at the time.
The Courier Mail’s senior league reporter Peter Badel told NRL360 on Wednesday night that Thurston’s manager Sam Ayoub has begun negotiations for a contract extension which will see his client finish his career in 2018.
“The great maestro has begun talks with the Cowboys for another contract — one final season,” Badel said.
“He’s off contract at the end of 2017 — he has flagged previously the intention to go on. That is now very real. He has instructed his manager to begin talks with the Cowboys (and) he’s done that.”
Should Thurston extend his deal, the 32-year-old will be the first Cowboy in history to play 300 NRL games for the club.
While Thurston’s marketability will see him snare top spot as the game’s biggest earner moving into 2018, remarkably new Parramatta recruit Kieran Foran has already equalled Thurston’s wage.
At only 25, the New Zealand five-eighth signed a two-year deal with an option in his favour for an additional two seasons valued at $1.2 million a year.
“We all know Kieran Foran is on 1.2 — it was spoken about fairly widely as he tried to negotiate last year,” NRL360co-host Paul Kent explained. “Daly Cherry-Evans is the same.”
While Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk is on a reported $800,000 a season, he’s currently in negotiations for a new deal which should see him join the $1 million club.
“You have to bear in mind here that players are at different stages of their contracts,” Kent said.
“Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans are clearly in their first year whereas a bloke like Greg Inglis is in the (second) last year of his contract and no doubt will be looking for an upgrade in his next deal.
“The figures give people an indication what the good guys are earning.”
These are the highest paid players in the competition:
Johnathan Thurston $1.2 million
Kieran Foran $1.2 million
Billy Slater $1.2 million
Cameron Smith $1.1 million
Daly Cherry-Evans $1.1 million
Greg Inglis $900,000
Robbie Farah $900,000
Sam Burgess $800,000
Cooper Cronk $800,000
Josh Dugan $800,000