View Full Version : Matt Srama - 2012 Player Discussion

05-07-12, 07:14 PM
Matt Srama - 2012 Player Discussion

05-07-12, 07:14 PM
Matt a future Titans captain: Bailey

GOLD Coast Titans prop Luke Bailey has anointed young hooker Matt Srama as a future captain of the club in the lead-up to the homecoming of favourite son and former rake Nathan Friend.

Foundation player Friend will make his return to Skilled Park for the first time in New Zealand colours on Saturday.

It will cap a full turnaround for the uncompromising dummy-half, who captured the hearts of Titans players and fans with his courage and personality during a five-year Gold Coast tenure.

The decision to let Friend leave at the end of last year was controversial, with many Titans fans opposing the move as the club put its faith in boom youngster Srama.

And while Bailey said it was disappointing to see his good friend depart, he believed Srama had filled the hole admirably this season.

"It was disappointing to see him go. Obviously we suffered at the start of the year and end of last year without him," he said.

"But I think Srama has come along great. He's making hundreds of tackles and not missing too many.

"He's showing everyone how to tackle and belt blokes. I see him as a future captain of this club.

"Srama's built his game on what Friendy does and it took him a while to get there but now I think he's got it down pat. Especially with his energy in attack and defence.

"He's only improving. That's going to be one of the key match-ups."

It will be an emotional return to Robina for Friend who has hinted he will call the Gold Coast home when he retires from professional football.

The veteran prop said he was expecting Friend to fire in front of his old home crowd.

"You can tell when we played them over there, he upped the ante in his game," said Bailey, who is racing the clock to recover from a painful rib injury.

"Coming back here, he's got a lot of loyal fans who love him and some family and friends. I'm sure he'll be out to try and upset us and get under our skin."

Titans coach John Cartwright yesterday named fullback Will Zillman (hamstring), centre Beau Champion (ankle), and props Matt White (tonsillitis) and Bailey to return from injury against the Warriors.

Champion and White are near certainties to play but Bailey and Zillman are both rated a 50-50 chance.

A decision on Bailey's fitness will be made on Friday and the 32-year-old revealed he would need painkilling injections before every match for the remainder of the year.

"It's just a matter of seeing how it feels. It's going to be tender throughout the year but as long as I'm not risking it," he said.

"For the rest of the year (I'll need injections). The doctors said it'll be sore for 12 months. A couple of needles will fix it up.

"I had a broken nose when we played them over there and he (Friend) gave me three-four cheap shots. I'm not expecting anything different."


Jamal's Hamstring
05-07-12, 09:23 PM

Ten characters.

03-09-12, 08:36 AM
Gold Coast young gun Matt Srama is a rising star earning less than the average wage

MATT Srama is one of the NRL's rising stars. Naturally, you'd expect him to be on top dollar.

Instead, he is the human face of the salary debate sweeping rugby league with the Titans rookie's base wage almost $25,000 less than the national workforce average.

While the ARL Commission has trumpeted the newly-brokered $1.025 billion broadcasting deal as a landmark triumph in the code's era of independence, the push is now on to ensure rugby league's riches reach the NRL's lowest-paid players.

Based on the NRL's current award wage of $55,000, players ranked 18 to 25 in a club's full-time roster are left to live on approximately $797 a week - a far cry from the six-figure sums enjoyed by the code's elite.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail, interim ARLC chief executive Shane Mattiske promised the game's relative playing paupers would not be ignored as powerbrokers step up talks on the code's Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2013 and beyond.

And if there is a poster boy for the NRL's award-wage issue, look no further than Srama.

At 20, the Titans hooker is rated one of the game's most promising rookies. Yet despite having been a fixture in the NRL for the past year, Srama's base contract in 2012 is $50,000, a pittance compared with the $700,000 Maroons playmaker Johnathan Thurston pockets annually at the Cowboys.

The issue, as Broncos coach Anthony Griffin sagely pointed out recently, is the level of remuneration for players at the lower end of the pay scale who make identical sacrifices to Thurston in pursuit of a big-time footballing career.

Incredibly, Srama doesn't even earn the NRL's minimum wage. Such has been his rapid rise, Srama rocketed into the top grade on a deal brokered while he was a member of Gold Coast's under-20s outfit.

But, regardless, Srama could ostensibly be earning more in the general workforce. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average gross full-time wage for a male worker last year was $73,850, or 34 per cent more than an NRL player on the game's award wage.

Factor in a first grader's limited career-span - data shows the average NRL player lasts only two to three seasons - and the push for the minimum wage to be lifted to between $80,000 to $100,000 is justifiable.

"Realistically, Matt (Srama) is on 10 times less than the top players in the game. He is on very average money," says his brother Paul, who works as an operations officer in the Ipswich district rugby league.

"As an NRL player, you have to maximise what you earn because you are only one major injury away from being finished.

"A lot of NRL players are reasonably unskilled outside of rugby league, so if you find yourself in the workforce at age 25, what do you do?

"The minimum wage should be around $100,000 because these guys don't get to play rugby league for 30 years.

"Last year, Matty was juggling work as a storeman with trying to break into the NRL. He was putting in some really long hours for minimal pay, so not every player does it easy."

On top of his current deal, Srama earns match payments of $2000. So far this season, he has played 23 games, which equates to an additional $46,000, before tax.

It's good coin, but the pressure on Srama to stay fit is immense. "Every game he misses costs him money," Paul adds.

A breakdown of the basic NRL wage underlines the struggle at the bottom end. A top-liner on $55,000 receives $4583 in gross pay per month, which is reduced to $3729 when the taxman takes his share.

Then there is a player-agent fee of around 6 per cent, which is calculated on a player's gross salary, but skimmed from their net earnings.

Some clubs then deduct other payments such as private-health insurance or daily meals at training.

For every Thurston or Greg Inglis earning $500,000-plus a year, there are scores of NRL contemporaries taking home between $3200-$3454 a month - a wage that can disappear almost overnight with a career-ending knee reconstruction.

Mattiske says addressing the NRL's minimum wage is a key agenda item for the commission.

"When we sat down with the players association, the minimum wage was certainly something that was discussed," he said. "We are keen to ensure there are appropriate structures in place to make sure that the players training to participate in the NRL are appropriately rewarded."

RLPA general president, retiring Broncos prop Petero Civoniceva, said his post-career objectives included fighting for players' rights.

"Most pressing is establishing a fair CBA for the players to ensure their rights, such as an increase in minimum wage, income protection insurance and improved player retirement accounts," he said. "David Garnsey (RLPA boss) told me he hoped my involvement would encourage other players to become more active in the Players' Association - not just sit back passively and accept whatever is dealt to them by the NRL."

Player agent Simon Mammino of Life Arena, whose stable includes Maroons Origin trio Sam Thaiday, Dave Taylor and Jharal Yow Yeh, said the code needed to provide greater protection for the NRL's lesser paid.

"There are plenty of guys doing it tough. If you're an NRL player living in Sydney on the minimum payment, it doesn't leave a lot left over," he said.

"There are a lot of guys not earning elite money and bear in mind their career-span is generally five to 10 years and even less in many cases. You'd have to question whether the current award is an elite payment for a participant in an elite competition."


03-09-12, 01:15 PM
MATT Srama is one of the NRL's rising stars. Naturally, you'd expect him to be on top dollar

This article lost me here in the first par. I expect Srama to be paid fairly but top dollar? I don't think so.

At what stage does a player emerge from being an exciting prospect to being a young-gun star? Wayne Bennett commented on the weekend that it was too early to judge Greg Inglis as one of the greats, so how does Matt Srama suddenly become elevated to a higher level?

I totally support a scaled minimum salary for our players. I even more support Srama as being eligible for such increases but the media drives a pretty unrealistic agenda when they beat-up a young players earnings.

With the increase in available income from the tv deal, player agents all have their noses in the trough ... this is the side of rugby league I dislike.