Boyd Cordner and Cameron Smith have led their clubs to yet another grand final.
Boyd Cordner and Cameron Smith have led their clubs to yet another grand final.

Does cap work? Roosters and Storm’s GF dominance hurts NRL


AT LEAST one of this year's grand finalists, the Roosters and the Storm, have played in 15 of the past 20 NRL grand finals.

The Storm have played in nine grand finals since 1998, when the salary cap was introduced. The Roosters have played in seven.

That's including Sunday's grand final, where the two powerhouse clubs will play off for the silverware against one another for the first time.

The numbers raise the question as to whether the salary cap is serving its intended purpose and does equalisation actually work?

Granted the Storm were caught and punished for salary cap breaches, which caused their 2007, 2008 and 2009 grand finals to be stricken from the history books, but that still leaves 12 of the past 20 grand finals involving at least one of the two teams.

Few could argue the Storm and the Roosters are not two of the best-run sporting organisations in the country, with the exception of the Storm's salary cap breaches.

Let's remove from the equation the fans' constant jibes that these two teams are cheating the salary cap.

The simple fact that two of the 16 clubs have played in more than half of the grand finals in the past 20 years raises questions as to whether the salary cap is having the desired effect.

If the same teams are getting to the grand final anyway, why not just abolish the salary cap and let clubs pay their players whatever they want?

Since 1998, the Roosters have made the most legitimate grand finals, seven (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2013 and 2018).

The Storm have made six (1999, 2006, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2018).

The teams to have made four grand finals in that time are the Broncos (1998, 2000, 2006, 2015) and the Sea Eagles (2007, 2008, 2011, 2013), while the Bulldogs have three to their name (1998, 2004, 2014).

Clubs with two grand final appearances each are the Dragons (1999, 2010), Eels (2001, 2009), Warriors (2002, 2011), and the Cowboys (2005, 2015).

Teams to have appeared in just one grand final are the Knights (2001), Panthers (2004), Tigers (2005), Rabbitohs (2014) and the Sharks (20016).

The Raiders have not made the grand final since 1994 and the Titans have never made it to the decider.

All the focus around the salary cap seems to centre on clubs breaking the rules, with investigations uncovering breaches at the Eels, Sea Eagles and Sharks in the past few seasons.

However, what is being missed is whether or not the salary cap is serving its intended purpose, which is to level the playing field and give every team a chance to play in the grand final and win the competition.

Different clubs will always have better management, better fan bases, better facilities and better coaches.

But if the salary cap is failing to consistently level the playing field then it might be time to tinker with it or abolish it altogether.