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Origin players deserve more money
Andrew Johns
11:00 AEST Thu May 31 2012

Former Australia, New South Wales and Newcastle Knights champion halfback Andrew Johns is part of the Wide World of Sport commentary team and he will write exclusively for us in 2012.
Andrew Johns
  Have your say on State of Origin payments

It's time for the ARL to act, plain and simple. Amid all of the great talking points from State of Origin I, it seems a shame that we're now focussing on player payments. We shouldn't be. Queensland and NSW representatives simply deserve a bigger slice of the pie.

At present, players receive $20,000 per Origin match, half of which is put into a fund that they can't touch until retirement. The Rugby League Players Association wants that figure increased to $50,000 and while it may appear a hefty jump, when put into perspective, it's not.

In the United States, NBA players get around 50 per cent of the revenue the game generates, which includes ticket sales, television contracts and advertising. At the moment State of Origin player payments amount to about 10 per cent of revenue.

The players are acutely aware that they are the ones providing the entertainment and they should be compensated accordingly. They're now threatening to strike over the issue and while that's the last thing that fans want to see, I'm sure most supporters would also sympathise with the players.

The start of the Origin series has also re-affirmed my view that there needs to be a system implemented where clubs get compensated if their players get injured while on representative duty. Manly's Tony Williams will be out for six to eight weeks with a back injury suffered during Origin I. That hampers the Sea Eagles no end. If the Storm lost Billy Slater and Cameron Smith to injury for any length of time it would certainly ruin their NRL chances.

I made some pretty harsh comments on radio about my old club, Newcastle Knights, earlier this week, but I actually feel I held back a bit.

The Knights' attack is so one-out and it's up to the coaching staff to implement some changes. At the moment they’re boring to watch. The options they are taking and the brand of footy they are playing is not working for them.

The game of rugby league has become more attacking in the past few years and teams need to adapt. The way Melbourne Storm has evolved is a perfect example. Three years ago the Storm would grind teams out of the game by backing their defence. Now it's the other way around and they are backing their attack.

At the moment, the Knights are very defence oriented. They are down on confidence, but they need to put more energy into their attack.

It seems the Knights are planning for one big shot in attack each set of six. They are putting all their eggs in one basket, thinking that on tackle four they will get Darius Boyd running on the edge of the ruck to create on overlap for him to put someone away down the wing. But everyone is defending that play so well now and it is getting very predictable.

They need to mix it up by running off their forwards, playing some second phase with some offloads and supporting their ball carriers.

The Newcastle squad needs time to gel, but the guys who can hold their head up at the moment are winger James McManus and forwards Chris Houston, Willie Mason and Alex McKinnon. McKinnon has been the shining light for the Knights off the bench so far this season.

I have no doubt we will see a different Knights style this week against the Broncos, but the big test will come after 20 minutes when everyone gets tired and there are a few errors. If things don't go their way it will be interesting to see how they respond.

I couldn't believe the Sam Kasiano no-try call in Monday night's game between the Roosters and the Bulldogs. Video referees should be able to use some sort of discretion in making their decision as there was no way in the world any of the Roosters were going to stop Kasiano that close to the tryline.

Following that decision Canterbury captain Mick Ennis gave the referee a verbal spray, with Roosters skipper Braith Anasta doing something similar in the second half.

Players need to be really careful with what they say and do when dealing with referees as it sets an example for young players watching. It's hard enough to get referees in junior grades and if they see their heroes abusing refs in the NRL, it rubs off.

It's not a good look, but that said, I shouldn't pass judgement. I look back at the way I carried on sometimes and still shake my head. I was terrible when I'd get frustrated and I'd say things in the heat of the moment that I wish I hadn't.


Should State of Origin players be paid more?
What would you do to fix the Knights?
Should captains be allowed to berate referees?

User comments
Go the EELS:jarryd hayne Go my dad:me
I agree with everything you say. Isn't it reched
Of course they deserve more money! Why is everyone being so tight arsed and bitchy. Imagine a world without origin footy; you'd pay the earth to get it back! These players ARE origin footy. $50,000 shouldn't cut it, they should get the lot. If it was a choice between giving them all the money generated or canceling origin footy what would you choose? $50,000 is nothing. It might be to average joe, but incase you haven't noticed, average joe hasn't acquired the skill set that gets packed stadiums and whole states screaming with unbridled passion as they work. Average Joe , you are average on an average for doing average work. These players are exceptional athletes playing an exceptional standard of footy, they deserve an exception wage! I suggest $200,000 per game.
If you want to see players playing for honour then you,re watching the wrong grade of football. Those days are gone. The Kiwis are like Brisbane until they came into a first rate competition they were going no where. The fact is whether you like it or not NSW was the initial Rugby League competion that all players wanted to play in because it was the best. Rugby League is now a career for most and loyalty has been sacrificed for earning a lucrative salary. We would all do the same...
I don't know too much about how much the stadium earns per game but how about charging the fans a fraction less to get in to the stadium and that way it will increase the % the players earned per game without having to pay them any different
Still agreeing with Robbo another reason for too much money will just add to the temptations of possible corruptions to selections (if it is not already happening) and it will totally destroy International Rugby league - The excess monies should filter back into deveoping the code in juniors, back to rep clubs who loses players and Fostering International Rugby league - The kiwis are already there except when the Australians keep diluting their talents through dubious inducements & odd ancient rulings, Fiji has a half decent team if we ever give the Fijians back their stars - would that be a good idea but I guess the ARL,NRL,QRL,NSWRL,The new Commission are never interested.....I prefer players to want to play for the honour rather than for the big bucks!
I agree with Robbo! to add - There is too much bias and egos in selections for the blues these days Where there is 3 players from a struggling pathers outfit,your compulsory handful of Manly players chosen, a few bench players at club level as well as the odd reserve grade selection,constantly picking players under injury clouds - you have to question what the coach is on about and wonder why the true blue supporters are frustrated. The Tigers for example has had quite a few good seasons of late and yet we can only manage Ricky's 3rd choice hooker to make the team - teasing Woodsie on how close he is and Galloway's form and fitness demanding a position in the team - what has he done wrong? - he has been in the blue's plans for the past 3 years and could only help Robbie up front! but no - just bring in another green rookie!!real stupid eh! so much for combinations, form and common sense....
The isssue is not whether people would do it for free and whether or not it would dilute international competition is also irrelevant as as is any comparison to the average Joe Blow and his annual salary raising any of htese issues is small minded and shows a lack of reasoning. The simple fact is that the State of Origin generates in excess of 33 million dollars and will generate more under the new TV deal. It generates this turn over because people want to see the best footballers play for their state. It is being proposed that each player receive 50,000 per game or $1,700,000which euals 5,100000 for the series that is a very small piece of the over all pie. Lets face it State of Origin is entertainment and the players are the entertainers without them there would be no entertainment so I see no problem with them earning a fair cop on a percentage basis.You don't see those who make films complaining about what percentage of the gross profits that movie stars make.
I'll play for Qld for free. I already did once in Gridiron (oh wait I had to pay for the flights and even the kit) and I broke my leg in 6 places and didn't work for 2 years got nothing out of it but pride and I'd do it again tomorrow. I now work for a casino that makes millions a day and $20000 is just under half of what I get a year. So get a grip do it for pride (and $20000) or don't do it at all!
I believe that the players should get more money,even though $20,000 is more than average Joe's wage there career can come to a end very shortly through injuries. If your that good and earning the fat cat administrators a bucket load of cash you should be reaping the benefits. We pay to see the players not the suits in the office.There needs to be a line drawn on the field between the refs and players. Respectfully state your complaint if the refs says no then leave it . no swearing no argument and a nice tone . But then there needs to be a shake up with the refs although I understand they are under alot of pressure on them they are making alot of mistakes.
i dont agree that these players deserve more money for the effort they put into football there training for the week probably amounts to one day's work then 80 minutes of footy on the weekend then off to galavant through kings cross showing off in front of every other blokes girl friend is a fairly normal week for a footballer..but when they are making alot of people extremely rich in a multi million dollar buisness pay them what they want and get on with it..so much crap in the game as it is.
I for one don't watch State of Origin football to see the administration of Rugby League and their families have their free ride. I watch the players and I do think that they deserve a much higher cut of what is a multi million dollar 3 game business. 1 million dollars per year put into a "Trust Fund" is a nice little interest earner for who? As far as Newcastle is concerned it just goes to show that money doesn't buy everything...All captains should have the right to question referees..Particularly the last few weeks......
The real perspective is that 20K is a large proportion of average Joe's salary. If all workers were to strike over a larger slice of their company's profit, the country would grind to a halt. Joey's comments have offended all previous players who have put on a sky blue or maroon jersey for a fraction of what current players earn. They played for pride, passion and the love of the game. It would be a sad day if the NRL were to follow the American prime time mentality of high player contracts and bling.
Same boring attack and plays used at the dragons predictable and negative
Who ends up paying for this increase in salary and pay, the struggling fans and their families who may want to attend the match. $20,000 is about a third to a quarter of the average working man's yearly salary. You bloody gluttons play for the honour or representation and for the fans that support you at state and home team level. Isn't it enough to have greedy politicians and company executives?
I was taught to play to the whistle and not complain to the ref. A captain should have the right to query not harass the ref. It would probably lead to another infringement due to frustration. Is Joey suggesting that NSW will win a series if they are compensated more? I bet NSW players (and Parra) would win a few more games if they were on an incentive system. Playing for your state should be about pride and loyalty.
pleanty more will play for less than you , its about pride not money,
they ar e paid too much as it is the games going soft and and not a good grudge match anymore , change he refs and let the hard men play hard , theway its meant to be
well how about if they play a decent game of football then increase salaries its been a very long time since ive seen an origin game that was not like a fairy contest no big hit ups no fast paced games like of latter year i agree with andrew johns but where do you draw the line notsince he was in his peak have i seen such a great game of football players dont put themselves on the line anymore its turned into a boring game where is the hypesurrounding the games i did not even realise the game was on until the day before what happened to the buildup the media focuses more off the feild than on whats happened to the game its slow and borig now even a club match has better hit ups in future id rather watch australian idol or master chef and yes it is that dissapointing
I thought being selected for Origin was all about playing for the jersey, not about the money. Let them strike and bring in some players that want to play for the pride of their state, not their already well lined pockets!!
The one thing i was always told as a young player was nothing you are going to say is going to change the ref's mind. tell me how many times have you seen a ref say , gees thats a good point and change their call it isn't going to happen, And i know some times its hard to keep your cool when you think things are going against you. So i offer some more words of wisdom that my high school coach used to tell me all the time "shut your mouth and let your shoulders do the talking"


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