The story of Pandora’s Box depicts a woman receiving a box with gifts from the gods however she was banned from ever opening the box. Naturally her curiosity got the best of her and she opened the box thus releasing evil into the world. Dave Smith’s box is very similar; the war chest is an inevitable disaster waiting to happen.
The NRL salary cap revolves around the premise of clubs adhering to the limitations of $5.5 million for their top 25 players to explain it simply. Read more about it here.
Third Party Agreements or ‘Marquee Player Allowances’ are allowed to a limit of $600 thousand per club. Any exceeding amounts will contribute to the salary cap.
The current value of the war chest has not been divulged however the original claim from 2012 was that the target value would be roughly $100 million.
The War Chest will basically give which ever club can make up the difference a chance to sign a player worth much more than they can afford. While it would be great for the sport to keep those players in the sport there would be riots in the streets about preferential treatment towards a certain club.
There are plenty of players out there that could be potential targets to use the war chest on. Sam Burgess, Sonny Bill Williams and Jarryd Hayne are all super stars that have recently left the game but many consider an NRL return likely after the Rugby World Cup or in Hayne’s case if he isn’t as successful in the NFL.
Current NRL players who could be targeted by other sports or competitions include Greg Inglis and Cooper Cronk which has become increasingly more likely with the introduction of the Super League’s new Marquee Allowance or if Hayne’s NFL dream attracts interest from other players.
The other danger is players who know what they are worth trying to beef up their salary by feigning a code switch just to empty the war chest a little.
The reality is that one day it is possible that the war chest will be necessary but in the foreseeable future there will be no rational way of executing these payments without raising outrage from several parties.
The bottom line is the war chest is a concept that is likely to either fail or never be used. There are many other options for what the money could be used on such as building foundations for players to be developed and supported to ensure a smooth transition to first grade or alternate career options. Tread lightly Dave Smith, don’t release the evil.