NSWRL budget rejected by ARLC

The QRL budget is approximately $1.7m, about $300,000 less than NSW’s.

Player payments for both states are the same, having been negotiated with the RLPA and ARLC.


Budgeted payments to players are $765,000, being a payment of $15,000 per Origin match for 17 players.

The Blues accommodation costs are higher than usual because of a decision to allocate each player a room in order to mitigate Covid-19 risks.

NSW air travel is also higher than usual because the second Origin match is in Perth. However, Queensland’s travel costs would be similar.

QRL chief executive, Rowan Sawyer, confirmed the Maroons planned to spend $300,000 less than the Blues but would not specify what items were included in his budget. For example, Trodden revealed that wages for Origin specific staff, such as doctors and physios, was not itemised in the budget submitted to the ARLC but the estimated expense of $200,000 was included in the final costing of $2m.

Sawyer said staffing costs of medical staff was included in the QRL budget but did not quantify.

Food and beverage costs do not appear excessive for three weekly camps of 17 players plus reserves and staff insofar as players have had their match payments halved from $30,000 per Origin game to $15,000 following the COVID-19 cutbacks.

Years ago, when Origin players were paid $5,000 per match, the view was “let’s give them a good camp and shout them to a few restaurants”, setting a standard for food and beverage that has been maintained.

However, in rugby league’s enduring political wars, costs are often cited to justify actions.

Coach Brad Fittler with NSW stars Nathan Cleary and James Tedesco during the 2021 series.Credit:NRL Photos

When Laurie Daley was sacked as coach of the Blues, a bar bill of $1500 while in camp with the team at Star Casino, was cited as a reason.

Nor do the Blues expenses for planned entertainment appear excessive. After all, post-game functions contribute to the game’s storied history.

Who can forget Immortal John “Chook” Raper ordering a young Russell Crowe and a pair of attractive women from a Brisbane gathering which followed a devastating loss? Fortunately Rusty – unknown to Chook who had not seen Romper Stomper – later returned to invest in the game.


Not included in the QRL budget are expenses funded by the Former Origin Greats (FOGs), the past Maroon players’ organisation. The FOGS contribute about $100,000 a year for the hire of a guest speaker, payment of a specialist coach or a dinner for partners. The Blues past players group does not offer the same support.

On any cost-benefit analysis, the combined $3.7m spend by the states for the Origin series is dwarfed by the gigantic return in TV broadcasting income, gates and sponsorship.

Stream the NRL Premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.

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