BEHIND THE DESK: Can the NRL get rid of salary cap rorting?
BEHIND THE DESK: Is there a way to rid salary cap rorting in the NRL?
MATTHEW ELKERTON: Scare tactics: Docking points doesn't work anymore
IT HAS been almost 15 years since the Bulldogs were torn apart by a salary cap scandal that defied belief.
They were the competition benchmark, unassailable and with the finish line in sight it came crashing down around them when they were stripped of ALL their competition points.
The ballsy decision by then NRL CEO David Gallop, who had only just assumed the seat, sent shockwaves through the NRL and no side was even game to rort the system.
Well, not at least for another eight years until an even more extensive rorting system was uncovered south of the border.
The Melbourne Storm breach was again met by the long arm of the NRL law (integrity commission) and saw the side stripped not only of competition points, but also major premierships they had won.
It was a harsh but just punishment for the crime, and again it scared clubs into playing by the rules once again. Well at least for another six years. Until today.
Hello, Parramatta and your exorbitant playing roster.
Didn't think you would get caught out on this one?
But has the time for docking of competition points been and gone?
Scare tactics no longer seem to work. To be honest in the screw-up case of the Eels I don't think punishment would matter.
Maybe it's time for the F(old) word to come back.
BILL NORTH: There will always be bad eggs who try to cheat system
FIRSTLY, I'm still shocked it's the Parramatta Eels who managed to get themselves tangled up in a salary cap scandal.
They've finally got a decent roster - so chances are they're still going over and beyond.
It would be a shame to see them docked points in a season when finally showing a glimmer of hope. But if found guilty of breaches it must be done.
Breaches cannot go unpunished, and previous action by the NRL is justified.
But can it be stamped out of the game? Not a chance. In the world of business people are not going to stop trying to bend the rules to get ahead of the competition and, from time to time, resort to dodginess.
They take the risk, knowing full well the consequences. The heftier the penalty, the less inclined to take that risk. But there will always be those who will.
The only way around it would be to bring it closer in line with our nation's capitalist values and - like the world's elite football clubs - open it up to the free market and may the richest team win.
But we like our salary cap system. In a country of our population it's what works and who wants to see a competition dominated by the same three or four teams year on year? Not me.
It will have its bad eggs. But let's deal with those in due course and otherwise embrace the game we love.