How Panthers are being 'punished' for Origin selections

Having players selected for Origin duty is one of the greatest markers of success for an NRL club, but sometimes it comes with a great cost.

Just ask the Penrith Panthers, who are about to cop a massive whack to their salary cap for having an impressive four players selected for NSW Origin duty.

James Maloney, Nathan Cleary, Regan Campbell-Gillard and Tyrone Peachey were all selected in Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues team for Origin game one, following Penrith’s stunning start to the season.

On one hand the table-topping Panthers were cheering, until they looked at their salary cap situation.

Tyrone Peachey is one of four Origin selections from the Panthers. Pic: Getty

According to Fairfax Media, the players are owed bonuses worth $45,000 from the club for their selections in Origin.

And not only is that a whack to the Panthers’ bottom line, it’s also a huge hit to their 2018 salary cap, with NRL rules stipulating that bonuses sit inside the cap.

The Fairfax report also suggests the club could be facing an extra $40,000 hit to their cap when selections are made for the New Zealand v England Test in Denver.

The likes of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, James Fisher-Harris and Corey Harawira-Naera are likely to feature in Michael Maguire’s Kiwi team, meaning the Panthers could face a whopping $85,000 salary cap hit all up in 2018.

Penrith CEO Brian Fletcher told Fairfax the salary cap rules were “wrong”.

“That’s where the cap is wrong, the better you go, the more you get penalised,” Fletcher said.

“There’s nothing wrong with us giving them a bonus, we don’t mind paying it, but it’s terrible when you have to put it in the cap. You get penalised twice.”