South Sydney will have approximately $1 million spare in their salary cap over the next 18 months after the NRL handed down its findings into Greg Inglis’ retirement.
The Rabbitohs will have an estimated $300,000 this year and $700,000 next year to play with as a result of the Queensland and Australian champion stepping away from the game.
The NRL ruled that the money Inglis earned from his playing contract between the start of the year and his retirement on April 15 will be included, along with the salary he draws as part of the front office job he has taken up with the club.
The NRL said none of his playing contract will be included in the club’s 2020 salary cap, although none or part of his employment contract could be included.
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Rival clubs were closely scrutinising the NRL’s decision after Inglis walked away from the game with 18 months remaining on his deal.
The NRL put the decision to the other 15 clubs at a meeting of the game’s chief executives last week and they say it was not met with any objections.
After hanging up his boots because of a mounting toll on his body, Inglis said he would forego the $1.5 million owed to him in his playing contract.
He has taken up a role – worth about $300,000 – with the Rabbitohs which includes an assistant coaching position, as well as working with the club’s commercial division and charity arm Souths Cares.
The NRL considered three other outcomes before handing down its decision, starting with including the outstanding amount from his contract in the cap.
They also weighed up including the money earned from his employment contract in the cap and excluding all of the money earned by Inglis or owed to him.
The NRL argue their decision is fair and reasonable.
“We are comfortable that Greg genuinely had had enough,” said NRL chief operating officer Nick Weeks.
“If you accept that that’s right, and we do, we think it’s a good thing for him to remain involved in the club and in the game.”
The NRL’s ruling could pave the way for the Rabbitohs to keep off-contract prop George Burgess, who the club has seemed resigned to losing.
The Rabbitohs had been linked to Brisbane star James Roberts, however coach Wayne Bennett has ruled out the incumbent NSW Origin centre returning to Redfern.
The amount of the Inglis salary added onto the Rabbitohs’ 2020 cap will depend on his work regime, including whether he can prove he is committed to pursuing his new career.
The NRL are mindful that such a retirement could be used by clubs as a loophole to entice players whose careers are on the wane to slide into retirement by parachuting them into a cushy office job.
But the NRL said they will audit and police Inglis closely.