The Cronulla Sharks are staring down the barrel of a salary cap penalty of half a million dollars or more with the NRL having reportedly uncovered more discrepancies beyond the one it self-reported to the integrity unit last year.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday night that the NRL’s forensic audit of the club’s computer servers stretching back several years has revealed more than just the single salary cap anomaly chief executive Barry Russell reported in August last year.
As well as having a fine imposed, the Sharks could be penalised $500,000 under its cap when the Australian Rugby League Commission delivers its findings after meeting on Thursday.
That could mean bad news for hooker James Segeyaro, who re-signed with the club on a one-year deal on Tuesday after being cast into the NRL wilderness at the end of last season.
The Herald reported that the Papua New Guinea international has been given no guarantee his contract will be registered pending the outcome of the salary cap investigation.
The Sharks board met on Tuesday night to discuss how to handle any proposed NRL fine and salary cap impediment.
Crionulla are already appealing an $800,000 sanction handed down last year over a raft of emails previous officials instigated with former coach Shane Flanagan during his 2014 ban over the ASADA scandal.
Under the terms of Flanagan’s ban, the club and coach were to have no contact with each other until his suspension expired.
Flanagan will learn the fate of his appeal over his deregistration from the NRL later this week.
Russell met with the entire squad of Sharks players on Tuesday morning to discuss the cap issues, and co-captain Paul Gallen said the playing group remains unaffected by the drama.
“You wouldn’t even know there’s any issues as far as the team goes,” Gallen said. “We’ve been through worse as individuals and players. It’s not overly concerning, but the concerning part for me is that I suppose at the end of the day it will affect the players again.
“That’s what I find frustrating. I have got no idea what penalty this is going to be. I’ve got no idea if we’re going to lose a player. I really don’t know. I’m not going to speculate on that.
“[But] we haven’t missed a beat and training has been pretty good to be honest. I know there’s been a fair bit of outside noise, but there’s no issues as far as the boys go.”
I hope this also leads to them getting the premiership being stripped off them also.