Another day, another round of NRL transfer gossip.
To save time on looking back through pages and pages of transfer rumours, everyone is linked to every club, for ridiculous money.
Cody Walker has reportedly demanded a pay rise. Given his form and importance to his side, you can’t fault him. James Maloney is said to be looking to cash in on years of brilliance and may have to leave the Sharks to do so.
I can’t blame either player, especially Maloney, who did what no other player in the history of the game has been able to do, and that is lead the Cronulla Sharks to a premiership.
It’s hard to blame players for inflating their worth given the ridiculous money being thrown around, especially when fringe first grader Mitch Moses signed a deal worth supposedly $800,000 a season. The way he has been playing, $8 is far too much.
As a quick aside, Moses should not only publicly say sorry for his ‘efforts’ over the past fortnight, but refuse to accept payment from the Tigers. NRL millennials aye?
Josh Dugan is supposedly about to sign a million dollar deal with the Sharks. On paper, Dugan, a rep mainstay and the Dragons best for as many years as he has been at the club, is worth many times more than what Moses is on, and I’d even go so far as to say more than what Ben Hunt has signed on for in 2018, but it’s strange considering he will likely switch to centre for his new club.
Well, I could either keep poking fun at truck loads of money being thrown around, or I could *ahem* put my money where my mouth is, and name the most valuable players in the NRL. More on the former in the future, especially if my boy Moses has yet another stinker for his new club, but for now, here are the NRL’s most valuable.
Note: This is not just about who is the best player in the competition. This takes into consideration the money I would see as a good deal offered if the player was to sign on next season. It takes into consideration the player’s current value, future potential, age and importance to a potential side. It’s naturally going to focus on players off contract, or recently re-signed, as it shows recent value, but also features players who are not off contract. Obviously, position plays a big role in a players value also. The monetary value listed is purely for fun.
$1.5 million a season
At 24 years of age, Tedesco is the second best fullback in the game right now, possibly third should Billy Slater continue his form. He is five years younger than Darius Boyd and nine years Billy Slater’s junior. He has been the linchpin and has excelled in a pretty ordinary Tigers team. Imagine what this kid will do next season when he is surrounded by the likes of Cordner, Pearce and Friend. That Roosters forward pack and those halves will make Tedesco the best player in the game. The Tigers should have handed a blank contract for six years and asked him to name his price. He is not the best player in the game right now, but if all contracts were voided and reset, Tedesco is the first player I would sign.
$1.4 million a season
Taumalolo is the most damaging forward in the game, and at only 23 years of age, has 10 or so years to get even better. If Tedesco is the most valuable player in the game, Taumalolo is only slightly behind him, and only due to the importance fullbacks play in the modern game. As good as the likes of Gallen and co are, there is no other player in the competition like the reigning Dally M medalist. His deal with the Cowboys looks like it could be a risky one, given the length and money on offer, but I can’t name an NRL club that wouldn’t have made the same commitment in the same situation.
$1.2 million a season
I know he is 34, and his body is showing signs of wear and tear, but Thurston is the game’s most important player, and I’m willing to now say the best player of the generation. If you want to win a premiership next season, Thurston is the first player you’d sign. I cannot provide enough praise for the Cowboys champion, but even at 34, with probably one or two seasons max left in his body, a million would be a bargain considering what he brings to the table.
$1 million a season
Fanboy alert! This kid is the definition of special. Robbed of an Origin jersey due to injury, Tommy Turbo is the man I’d sign if Tedesco were not available. He’s already among the game’s elite, yet is not even old enough to have a beer in the States. He has a mountain of rep jerseys in his future and just may be the game’s premier youngster. A million a season is ridiculous money for a 20-year-old, but this kid can do it all. Only a serious injury will stop him from becoming a monster superstar. To sum up his brilliance, Manly fans have stopped mentioned the name of Brett Stewart in every sentence. That says a LOT.
$1 million a season
Another elder player who could very easily justify earning seven figures in a season. Smith is the game’s best ever hooker, there I said it. I certainly have never seen anyone anywhere near as good in my 30 years. Anything beforehand doesn’t count. Of course, I jest but there are better judges than myself making similar statements about the Storm, Maroon and Kangaroos legend. The game’s best organiser and captain. He seemingly breaks records every week and still has plenty to offer. He won’t be around forever, or will he? The word immortal comes to mind.
I this current day, the above five players are the only names I would throw a million dollars a season at. In their day Greg Inglis and Billy Slater would have collected the magical figure, while Sam Burgess would go awfully close, especially in 2014. Paul Gallen could have asked for two million when he was carrying the Sharks on his back for years. Pre-NFL Jarryd Hayne would be a bargain at only a million. The Titans look as though they’ll pay $1.2 for the 2017 version.
Of the current crop, Anthony Milford is probably as close to a million dollar player outside those listed above. Matt Gillett and Boyd Cordner would be the second rowers closest to that value. A fully fit and firing Andrew Fifita would be the only front rower I’d even consider breaking the bank for. Actually, throw James Graham 2015 in there also.
Lockyer, Johns and Lewis would be millionaires many times over if they had played in the current time.
I wouldn’t pay a winger or centre anywhere near that kind of money unless they were a once in a lifetime kind of player.
If Israel Folau were to the return to the game, he could certainly demand a million. I wouldn’t pay it, but I know most clubs would. He’d have to learn how to tackle again of course. Although, commercially, the interest and corp and merch sales he would generate would become a factor.
Sonny Bill Williams is worth that figure every day of the week.
Are clubs simply throwing huge money around given they expect the cap to rise massively next season? Is it desperation? Or are players simply worth more these days?
Let us know below who you believe are the most valuable players in our game.