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How much is too much or not enough?  No easy answer to the dilemma of what Origin players should be paid




The problem with the ongoing question of how much State of Origin players should be paid is that there is no right answer. Certainly not the one that will make everyone happy.

Origin is Australian rugby league’s biggest cash cow and the sacrifices players make to put their bodies on the line for 80 of the most grueling minutes in any sport on the planet are virtually impossible to quantify.

Before the pandemic, male Origin reps were pocketing $30,000 a game. This has been cut in half over the past two years as the ARL Commission tries to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19.

Like most aspects of rugby league, finding a solution to the question of how much players deserve for an Origin game is inextricably linked to the perennially complex, complicated and combative relationship between head office, clubs and players.

The RLPA wants Origin’s salary to go up, which of course players should demand. You don’t get what you don’t ask for in rugby league.

For some players, even though the match fee goes up to $30,000 per Origin, it’s actually a pay cut from their club salary.

Even if a player has appeared in every game in the 24 rounds of the regular season, plus the four finals and two preseason tries (when most play a maximum of one), that’s 30 games a year. Therefore, anyone earning more than $900,000 per season – and there are quite a few these days – actually receives less than a standard game for Origin.

In a sport like cricket in Australia, where the governing body recruits top talent for centralized contracts, it is much easier for head office to dictate how much players are paid per game.

(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Top players receive the bulk of their salary through their contract which is then topped up with match fees on a sliding scale for Tests, matchdays and T20 appearances.

Cricket Australia has the advantage of being able to direct its funds set aside for elite player salaries to a small group of top cricketers and then use the rest of the money from its main sources of income such as TV rights and ticket sales to support other areas. sports down to the basics.

In a sport like football in which the best players in the world earn eight-figure salaries, FIFA leaves it up to each nation to determine how much it pays its national representatives.

England, for example, reportedly paid their players £2,000 per appearance for the 2018 World Cup. This money often goes to charity anyway. Players of many sports are in it for the love of the game, not the money, and this is one of those cases where that is true.

You might take the cynical view that it’s easy to say that when you’re earning six figures a week from your club contract, those players also don’t have to risk a serious career-derailing injury on the international scene.

How much is too much or not enough?  No easy answer to the dilemma of what Origin players should be paid

Daly Cherry-Evans. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The original players could easily argue that they deserve more money for the amount of effort they put into those three matches each year, risking major injuries that will affect their ability to earn from their primary source of income. – their NRL club.

But the ARL Commission has plenty of other areas of the game that need financial support – every time money is seemingly ‘wasted’ on already wealthy elite players there’s an outcry it would be worth better that the money is spent in many other areas. of the game requiring attention such as juniors, country regions and women’s rugby league.

There’s also the matter of equal pay between Origin’s men’s and women’s teams – another item in rugby league’s big bucket of unsolvable problems.

Interest in the origin of women is growing at a breakneck pace. The investment is paying off and the TV ratings for the June 24 clash at the GIO Stadium will more than justify the increased salaries the players are currently receiving. There are several other high-profile men’s sports that would leave no stone unturned for the free prime-time billing that the Women’s Origin game has quickly gained over the past few years.

While still overshadowed by the men’s Origin series, like pretty much everything else in rugby league, that shouldn’t be used as a reason not to pay every state’s women’s rep.

They’re already paid a paltry sum to play in the NRLW, so only the rudest dinosaurs would lament them getting a living wage once a year from Origin. Thankfully, that will expand to a two-game series next year.

How much is too much or not enough?  No easy answer to the dilemma of what Origin players should be paid

(Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)

The QRL has at least announced that its female Origin players will receive the same amount this year – $15,000 – as the males. The NSWRL, which badly needs some good publicity after its recent battles with the ARL Commission over the governance of its boardroom, is paying its Origin representatives around $8,800 each.

For those who make the final team, Queensland players receive their $15,000 for attending multiple camps prior to the game as well as the game. NSWRL increases women’s pay by paying ambassador fees to their players for promotional duties, not just in the original period.

An NSWRL spokesperson said the match payment fee was set by the ARL Commission. “NSWRL is committed to women’s rugby league across NSW and invests significant sums into all levels of the women’s game, not just at the elite level of State of Origin.

“The NSWRL would be fully in favor of the ARLC increasing match payments for women’s Home State players – subject to the ARLC’s ability to do so – and ultimately to bring them in line with our State of Origin male players’ payouts.”

Hopefully NSWRL is able to quickly find a solution to this discrepancy otherwise the Women’s Origin will have its first NSW-style born player Greg Inglis coming up with a reason why she is actually eligible for Queensland.

League has made great strides in sorting out draft eligibility criteria in recent years, but it will always be a murky area, almost as difficult as solving the riddle of how much an Origin player – male or female – should to be paid.




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