Hervey Bay Seagulls celebrate their Bundaberg Rugby League grand final win over The Waves Tigers in 2016.
Hervey Bay Seagulls celebrate their Bundaberg Rugby League grand final win over The Waves Tigers in 2016. Matthew McInerney

Has the BRL points cap proved its worth?

LEAGUE: Does the variety of Bundaberg Rugby League premiership winners in the past five years prove the controversial points cap works?

The points cap was introduced to level the playing field, providing a way for smaller, cash-strapped clubs to compete with the big spenders who can handsomely pay the best available players.

It forced a rethink of how clubs operated, primarily in terms of junior player retention, and has been widely criticised since its inception.

But after a glance at the teams who have reached the finals in past five years, as well as the premiers, the points cap could be working as planned.

Waves Tigers' breakthrough premiership ended a decade of pain. While it was their second grand final in three years, the five years beforehand were largely forgettable, painful seasons.

Wallaroos' focus was inwards, developing and relying on players to reach two consecutive, albeit unsuccessful, grand finals in 2017 and 2018.

Past Brothers won the premiership in 2015 and 2017, Hervey Bay Seagulls lifted the silverware in 2016 and Wests Panthers beat Isis Devils in the 2014 decider.

Past Brothers won the BRL A-Grade title in 2017.
Past Brothers won the BRL A-Grade title in 2017. Shane Jones

Maryborough Brothers is the only team not to reach the A-grade finals, but that club stepped up to the top grade in 2017, and won two straight reserve grade titles in 2016 and 2017 in dominant fashion.

Yes, there are still lopsided scores, and no, not every team was competitive this year. The two bottom-placed teams this season, Maryborough Brothers and Hervey Bay Seagulls, combined for two wins a draw each, and those three results came against each other.

Isis Devils suffered several tough seasons but roared back into the top five this year, while Easts Magpies surprised some commentators to reach the post-season.

BRL chairman Mike Ireland, who has indicated he will stand for re-election at next month's AGM, said clubs were happy with how the system was managed this season, but added his opinion of the cap was irrelevant.

"As far as the points cap system is concerned most clubs were happy the way it worked in 2018 and they all know if they retain the same players in 2019 on the system they have in place now all those players will revert to only one point,” Ireland said.

"It does not matter what I think of the points cap, the clubs run the league, we are there to guide and help them so at the end of the day if the clubs are happy, we are happy.”

Winners of the 2018 Grand Final, Waves Tigers.
Winners of the 2018 Grand Final, Waves Tigers. Brian Cassidy

I have previously written about the cap, and even suggested it be abolished. It is hard to argue against results, and while results have made me more accepting of the cap, the way it is implemented and policed should be improved.

Points allocations are added to each week's team list, but the BRL planned several seasons ago to publish a list of playing rosters with each player's points value.

While an initial list was published, it was rarely updated, which led to questions and innuendo that could have easily been avoided.

The BRL's committee should consider publishing, and regularly updating, a player points list if the cap is maintained next season.

The AGM will be held at Salter Oval, Bundaberg, on Sunday, November 11 at 11am.

What do you think of the BRL's points cap? Send an email to sport@frasercoast chronicle.com.au.



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