Despite being labelled as the best over the course of the season, winning the minor-premiership isn't worth what it seems to be.
A promotors dream awaits the NRL as the competition heads into the final round of the regular season. The current number one ranked side, the Melbourne Storm take on the number two ranked team the Cronulla Sharks in what is virtually a play-off for the JJ- Giltinan Shield, as the seasons most consistent team over 26 rounds of Rugby League.
The winner of the ‘play-off’ will be able to call themselves the most consistent team across 2016, bank $100,000 prize money and of course the shield itself. A fitting end to a riveting regular season that truly had it all.
But … is it really worth all it seems to be. The elite athletes that run around the footy field day in day out for almost 10 months of the year, for the badge that rests on their heart will earn a measly $100,000 for their club.
To put things into perspective, the NRL season consists of 1920 minutes or 24 games where teams are playing for $100,000 but for just turning up to the Auckland Nines and playing three 18-minute games, clubs pocket more ($110,000) than the team who is the most consistent throughout 26 rounds of the NRL.
The most ludicrous part of the Nines is the winner of the glorified touch footy tournament, banks more than triple what the minor-premier will receive this weekend and clubs don’t even think about sending their best players to Auckland tournament.
Compared to other sports, the NRL is not the only one way behind the eight-ball. The A-League doesn’t offer any prize money for the winner of their regular season; in fact prize money in general is a rarity for the round ball code in Australia. Despite the FFA netting almost $5million from the most recent A-League Grand Final in Adelaide, neither the host team nor the Western Sydney Wanderers received one cent from the governing body.
The AFL although, don’t reward the team who finishes as top dog after the conclusion of the regular season. In fact, they reward the top 4 sides with a guaranteed $110,000 and a guaranteed $71,000 for the bottom four with prize money increasing the deeper team’s progress in the finals series.
The prestige of winning the minor-premiership has diminished significantly. Whilst it can be argued that winning on Grand-Final day is the pinnacle of Australian sport, what the NRL is offering the minor-premier is embarrassing for the amount of work that goes on throughout the whole season.
It’s just not worth it anymore …