Melbourne Storm in bombshell appeal of salary cap sanctions

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Craig Bellamy and the Melbourne Storm players, pictured here addressing the cheating scandal in 2010.
Craig Bellamy and the Melbourne Storm players addressed the cheating scandal as a group in 2010. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

A group of former Melbourne Storm administrators are reportedly set to lodge a fresh appeal of sanctions handed down by the NRL over the club’s salary cap scandal.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, former chairman Rob Moodie and former director Peter Maher are planning to lodging a fresh application with the current NRL administration.

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Moodie and Maher have reportedly received legal advice that the NRL did not follow its own rules when it stripped the Storm of the 2007 and 2009 premierships, three minor premierships, $500,000, and ordered them to return $1.1 million in prizemoney.

The former Storm administrators are not denying the systemic salary cap cheating took place, rather that sanctions handed to Parramatta and Cronulla in preceding years were egregiously more lenient.

The Herald reports that Moodie is also claiming the NRL did not follow its own rules, which required the Storm to be notified of the allegations in a breach notice and given five days to provide written submissions.

Rather, the breach notice was issued and sanctions handed down on the same day.

“We were going up to have a meeting to discuss this and all of a sudden the penalties were handed out,” Moodie said.

“The press release was already done before we got there.

“We went up for shoplifting and we got done for murder.”

Cameron Smith hits out at David Gallop

The fresh development comes after Storm captain Cameron Smith criticised then NRL CEO David Gallop in his new autobiography released this week.

The 430-game veteran alleged the players were “hung out to dry” before a thorough investigation was held.

“When people ask me who I’m most angry with for what happened they generally think I’ll say (CEO) Brian Waldron but it’s not,” Smith writes in ‘The Storm Within’.

“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.

“By punishing us before undertaking a thorough investigation Gallop put the players in a position they should never have been in.

“It allowed the media to give the public the idea we had knowledge of what happened. We were hung out to dry by the boss of the game.”

The Melbourne Storm, pictured here after being stripped of two premierships and three minor premierships.
The Melbourne Storm were stripped of two premierships and three minor premierships. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Gallop responded in an article for The Daily Telegraph, saying Smith’s comments were “plain wrong”.

Gallop doubled down and claimed a subsequent investigation into the salary cap breach meant “the punishments were obvious and clear”.

The former NRL boss said claimed Smith should “direct his criticism to the culprits, not the NRL administration which acted fairly and appropriately on the facts in front of it.”

Veteran rugby league writer Phil Rothfield defended Gallop following Smith’s criticism.

Rothfield claimed there was a thorough investigation and said he “agreed” with the NRL’s punishment.

“There’s been enormous controversy over his salary cap claims, him slamming the NRL management and David Gallop over the handling of the salary cap affair, how they were stripped of two premierships and he broke down and cried,” he said on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.

“I feel sorry about all those Storm players who were unaware that their contracts were illegal but as David Gallop explains, it was a pretty thorough investigation and it was obvious they were spending millions of dollars more than any other club in the game.

“So it was unfair and I agree with their decision to strip the premierships.”

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