The overpaid NRL players on bloated contracts short-changing their clubs



Here is a sobering NRL team of players being paid far too much for what they do, or don’t do for that matter.

Good luck to them and their managers if they can coax this sort of money out of desperate clubs, but it invariably doesn’t help the club and leaves them badly short-changed.

Not one of these players are worth their reported pay cheque (in brackets for each of them) based on 2022 form.

The NRL’s Most Overpaid Team

1. Kalyn Ponga ($1.1M) – Ponga has been talked up as the next big thing for a number of years but has totally failed to deliver for Newcastle, and now appears to be someone not even capable of going to the dunny by himself. Clearly, his father/manager is far more intelligent than anyone running Newcastle if he’s on this sort of money.

2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ($800K) – DWZ’s special talent is running headlong into the defence and getting battered, but that hardly justifies the Warriors veteran’s status as the highest-paid winger in the game.

3. Jack Bird ($550K) – Jack is increasingly becoming a Jack of all positions, and a master of none at the Dragons. He’s looking like a bench player at best and hardly deserving of this sort of coin.

4. Zac Lomax ($700K) – Has there been a player in recent years with so much natural talent and so little idea of how to use it? The St George Illawarra centre’s attention to detail and his game awareness would look out of place in park football let alone in the NRL arena.

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5. Nick Cotric ($600K) – If you’re going to have a bludger in your team, play him on the wing, but for God’s sake don’t pay him this much. The Raiders winger’s biggest contribution to the game this year has been to confuse the TV commentators by continually changing the pronunciation of his name.

6. Kodi Nikorima ($650K) – Kodi who? Nikorima is a glorified bench player at best and could have his salary halved and still make this list.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

7. Luke Brooks ($960K) – Does anything really need to be said here? Ten years in the NRL at Wests Tigers without appearing in a finals game and being paid more than the likes of Mitchell Moses, Jack Wighton, Cameron Munster …

8. Andrew Fifita ($850K) – Fifita was once a potent force who set the tone for the Cronulla pack, but those days are well and truly behind him, and now he’s found a permanent position on the bench.

9. Moses Mbye ($900K) – A biblical reference would be appropriate for a player named Moses, so let’s just go with the 8th Commandment. He’s a Dragon but also a stealer.

10. Luke Thompson ($750K) – There’s been some next to useless players to come here from the “Old Dart” and this British Bulldog is high on that list. His family were right when they told him that Australia is the land of opportunity.

David Fifita of the Titans in action

David Fifita (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

11. David Fifita ($1M) – Lazy Davy, professional lemon. If Fifita plays out any wider he’s going to become the highest paid linesman in the history of the game.

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12. Tyson Frizell ($700K) – Apparently Tyson left the Dragons to win a premiership at the Knights (insert laughter here) but earning this much moolah for trotting out the same predictable game each week must have also been in the back of his mind.

13. Tariq Sims ($650K) – Tariq hasn’t strung two good games together in over four years but still earns $100K more than Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Would both the Dragons and Australia be better off if they traded places?

14. Nathan Brown ($600K) – Once a key part of the Parramatta pack, Brown has made it all the way to reserve grade and is now so far on the outer at the Eels that he had to buy a season ticket just to watch them play.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 28: Tevita Pangai Junior of the Bulldogs is tackled by Siosifa Talakai of the Sharks during the NRL Trial Match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Canterbury Bulldogs at PointsBet Stadium on February 28, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

15. Tevita Pangai jnr ($925K) – Big, tough, lazy, unfit, ill-disciplined and overpaid. That just about covers it. For the kind of money Tevita is being paid he should be winning games single handedly for the Dogs rather than watching from the sideline while he catches his breath.

16. Jordan McLean ($750K) – McLean never was more than an average first-grader and still isn’t. The only thing the Cowboys would miss if he left the club would be the big hole he’s making in their salary cap.

17. Jarrod Wallace ($700K) – The only things stopping Wallace from being the worst financial decision that the Titans have made are Lazy Davy and Justin Holbrook. I really can’t remember when Wallace played like someone on $200K per year let alone $700K.

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So there they are, over $13M worth of salary cap at an average earn of just over $775K each. Realistically, that average should be no more than $300K.

Am I being unfair or is there someone else more deserving to make this team?

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