Why hasn't high-paid NRL heavy Shane Richardson's blueprint for the next decade of rugby league addressed the player-swapping mayhem we are currently witnessing? The knee-jerk response to the DCE backflip seems to be the sole extent of the promised review of player transfers. Meanwhile clubs are frantically 'trading' contracted players and weeks out from the new season fans don't even know for sure who will still be at their club by kick-off. Salary cap machinations are heavily involved in the trading deals. But what is being done to restore a modicum of faith in the integrity of the cap? All fans know that some clubs have a huge advantage when it comes to availability of 3rd party sponsors, so the pretence that the cap helps maintain an even playing field has been all but extinguished. Forget the salary cap ensuring a level playing field for club rosters - the cap obviously exists only to prevent those clubs with deficient management from going broke. And it hasn't even prevented that. Fox reports today that Brisbane have publicly stated they will pay part of Dale Copley's new contract, after telling him he is free to look elsewhere when they signed Gold Coast centre James Roberts last month. He is tipped for the Roosters. "It is understood the Broncos are going to tip in approximately $100,000, meaning the Roosters will still have to pay $200,000 to $250,000 for Copley in 2016." Copley is a good player but he is an outside back who is a fringe first grader at Brisbane (playing only 9 NRL games last year). Yet they had him on between $300,000 and $350,000?? NRL more than ever is big business and it is part of the entertainment industry. In line with what is happening in all areas of business, employers are demanding and receiving greater 'flexibility' from the workforce, meaning less stability and security for employees. But never mind the ramifications for players - what about the ramifications for fans? From an NRL fan's perspective, a key component of our attachment to the game has been identification with the team. Not simply with the colours, or with the club (nowadays often simply a privately-owned franchise, such as Manly has) but with the team, which is made up of players and support staff. This component is disintegrating before our eyes. Fluidity of player movements is the direction we are moving (it certainly seems to be how things work in US sports) but this change surely is at the expense of a big part of the tribal associations on which the allure and popularity of rugby league were founded. It is a huge change, and judging from reports - even on the NRL's own site - it is one that hasn't even figured in the report by the NRL Head of Game Strategy and Development. Which probably means it's time to promote him.