Abdo said there was no favouritism being shown towards the Roosters and “we’re not talking about a new rule or an exception to the rule, we’re talking about a rule that exists at the moment … and this rules applies to all players at all clubs”.
There remains scepticism in clubland about Cordner given it was him – not NSW – who pulled out of the Origin series. The Herald understands Cordner satisfied all the medical protocols and was even given the green light to continue playing in the series, not necessarily for game two but certainly for game three.
Because of Cordner’s standing in the game – he is the Roosters, NSW and Kangaroos captain – there has been a lot of interest about whether the Roosters will be successful in their bid for compensation.
The Roosters’ bitter rivals Souths went through a similar situation with Burgess when he was medically retired at the end of 2919, which prompted the NRL to send out an unprecedented group email to all club bosses.
The NRL’s chief financial officer Richard Gardham wrote at the time: “We do not ordinarily inform all clubs about the outcome of individual applications of this nature, but given the level of speculation I believe it is important to provide information in relation to the league’s decision.”
South Sydney boss Blake Solly told the Herald it only made sense a similar update about the Roosters was provided.
“The NRL provided all clubs with transparency and clarity about their approach to the salary cap when Greg and Sam retired in 2019,” Solly said.
“From memory, that is the only time the NRL communicated such information to all clubs. We are really supportive of that approach.
“[Having said that] the opportunity for clubs to apply for dispensation was a sensible decision by the NRL. Clubs bear all the risk when players are selected for representative fixtures, and unlike other international sporting codes like football or rugby union, do not receive compensation when the player is released to play.
“This rule was an attempt to recognise the risk the clubs bear and was welcomed by all.”
Abdo said the NRL had requested an “independent examination” of Cordner, and “we have been in regular dialogue with the club”.
“We received an independent report – we are very pleased with the approach the club has taken around Boyd’s welfare, recovery and rehabilitation,” Abdo said.
“Pre-existing conditions are a subjective issue on a range of factors for athletes who are playing a tough competition for 30 weeks. From a salary-cap relief perspective, it doesn’t really matter if a player had a niggle or pre-existing condition … if someone sustains an injury in a representative match, regardless of what happened before that, then the rules will apply.”
Canberra signed Corey Harawira-Naera last year with an allowance after fellow back-rower John Bateman was injured on England duty.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.