David Gallop fires back over salary cap scandal accusation
David Gallop fires back over salary cap scandal accusation

Gallop pulls receipts on Smith as cap feud reignites

Former NRL boss David Gallop has sensationally accused Cameron Smith of being "just plain wrong" in the Melbourne Storm legend's new book about the 2010 salary cap scandal investigation.

After reading explosive extracts published in News Corp publications, Gallop explained how he recalled the biggest and most systematic cheating scandal in rugby league history.

While Smith still blames Gallop for the NRL's decision to hand out punishment more than a year before the full investigation was complete, Gallop fired back: "I was surprised to read Cameron's opinion. Unfortunately, Cameron is just plain wrong".

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Smith's ongoing anger relates to the fact the NRL initially said the Storm "had breached the salary cap by $1.7 million over five years".

Smith wrote that "more than a year after stripping us of everything" it was then discovered that the club was actually $3.78 million over during a five-year period.

The NRL's punishment included stripping the Storm of their 2007 and 2009 premierships, as well as the minor premierships in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and making them play for no competition points in 2010.

 

The famous Melbourne Storm walk after the salary cap scandal broke. Picture: AAP/David Crosling
The famous Melbourne Storm walk after the salary cap scandal broke. Picture: AAP/David Crosling

 

"But they also confirmed that neither the coach nor the players had any knowledge of the illegal payments," Smith wrote.

"We already knew that. But did the public? By then, it was too late. The damage was done … and the players hung out to dry."

What is obvious is that a decade on, Smith still carries enormous hurt.

"When people ask me who I'm most angry with for what happened they generally think I'll say (chief executive) Brian Waldron but it's not," Smith wrote in The Storm Within, which is launched at Suncorp Stadium on Monday.

"My anger is mainly directed at the NRL for the penalties they handed down and the way the whole matter was handled. And for that I blame David Gallop."

 

A The Daily Telegraph’s front page in 2010.
A The Daily Telegraph’s front page in 2010.

 

But Gallop maintains Smith's anger is misguided given the initial evidence included "substantial non-disclosure of player payments putting the Storm over the cap for a number of years" as well as "evidence of a dual contracting system being used for champion players".

Gallop also claimed former Storm chairman Rob Moodie specifically asked "get it over and done with" after they had confessed to a "folder of secret contracts of some of the best players in the competition".

Gallop claimed the new CEO at the time, Matt Hanson, had been told to keep the folder "at his home by Brian Waldron". The folder was also handed over to the NRL.

"They knew the game was up," Gallop continued.

"We had the final pieces of the jigsaw. There was no other fair answer after that ... we will never fully know what the players were told about signing extra contracts. Their agents were obviously heavily involved."

It is difficult to comprehend why Smith would focus on the early punishment given the ultimate investigation discovered the cheating was in fact $2 million over that initial figure.

Gallop said Smith "should direct his criticism to the culprits not the NRL administration which acted fairly and appropriately on the facts in front of it".

"The punishments were obvious and clear," Gallop said.

"Cameron should direct his criticism to the culprits not the NRL administration which acted fairly and appropriately on the facts in front of it. Indeed, we followed the NRL Rules agreed to by all clubs. Sadly, those premierships could not stand given the extent and nature of the breaches. Nor could that team of players fairly compete against the other clubs in the 2010 season which was underway."

Former NRL boss David Gallop responds to Cam Smith

- By David Gallop

I was surprised to read Cameron's opinion.

Unfortunately, Cameron is just plain wrong.

The situation at the Storm was under investigation for months.

Our investigation had uncovered evidence of substantial non-disclosure of player payments putting the Storm over the cap for a number of years, including evidence of a dual contracting system being used for champion players.

We wrote to the Storm requesting that they attend a meeting with the NRL by the end of the week, where they would have an opportunity to make full and frank disclosure.

 

David Gallop reveals Melbourne Storm’s punishment at a press conference.
David Gallop reveals Melbourne Storm’s punishment at a press conference.

 

The chairman, Rob Moodie and the new CEO, Matt Hanson, flew to Sydney the next morning and quickly admitted a number of substantial past and current breaches of the cap, including in seasons in which they had been premiers.

They told us about the folder with the secret contracts of some of the best players in the competition which Hanson had been told to keep at his home by Brian Waldron. This red Manila folder was given to us.

They knew the game was up. We had the final pieces of the jigsaw.

There was no other fair answer after that. In fact, Moodie specifically asked for us to "get it over and done with".

The season was in full swing.

We will never fully know what the players were told about signing extra contracts. Their agents were obviously heavily involved.

Melbourne Storm was stripped of two premierships.
Melbourne Storm was stripped of two premierships.

The subsequent investigation was done by News to get to the bottom of why things had gone so wrong at the Storm. That report found that the club was even further over the salary cap.

Put simply, we knew plenty thanks to the work done by our salary cap auditor, Ian Schubert, and the admissions of guilt by Moodie and Hanson on that day.

The punishments were obvious and clear.

Cameron should direct his criticism to the culprits, not the NRL administration which acted fairly and appropriately on the facts in front of it. Indeed, we followed the NRL rules agreed to by all clubs.

Sadly, those premierships could not stand given the extent and nature of the breaches.

Nor could that team of players fairly compete against the other clubs in the 2010 season which was underway.

Originally published as Gallop pulls receipts on Smith as cap feud reignites


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