WARRIORS chairman Ian Lenagan doesn’t think the Super League salary cap needs lifting – despite an exodus of stars to the NRL.
The strength of the Australian dollar – as well as a higher salary cap – has made the NRL a move attractive option.
And Salford’s ambitious new owner Dr Marwan Koukash is among those wanting the £1.6m wage ceiling raised to try and help keep the best players in this country.
Only last week, Wigan pair Lee Mossop and Gareth Hock - on loan at Widnes - signed with Parramatta for next season. Sam Tomkins is expecting to move Down Under in the near future, and within the last year Wigan have seen overseas stars such as Jeff Lima, Thomas Leuluai, Brett Finch and Pat Richards sign with NRL clubs.
Lenagan has welcomed a strategic review of Super League and the recent appointment of chairman Brian Barwick – but doesn’t believe raising the cap should be on the agenda.
“We have no problem with the salary cap at all,” the Warriors chairman said.
“I don’t think it should go up. I’m perfectly comfortable with it. We’re not having a problem with it.
“Why would I want to pay more money than we are?
“We’ve had a purposeful five or six years of changing the structure of Wigan’s salary cap, which used to be very much dominated by five or six top-end players who got 50 per cent of the salary cap and the youngsters at the bottom didn’t get what they should get.
“We’ve now readjusted that correctly. We’ve got it to the right level, I think.
“We’ve got to take account of what’s happening with the NRL but it’s not difficult for us.
“We will handle the next few years well.”
Lenagan has taken the positives from the increased strength of the NRL, saying it will improve the national team – and predicting many of the English players who head Down Under will return, like Adrian Morley, Brian Carney and Gareth Ellis did.
Lenagan will welcome Dr Koukash to the DW Stadium this Friday night when the Super League pace-setters host Salford, who had a debut win under Brian Noble last Saturday by beating Castleford 34-30.
He understands why the Reds’ new owner wants to lift the wage ceiling.
“It’s very difficult for Marwan Koukash from a standing start,” said Lenagan. “All he can do is buy in players at the moment and buy in coaches. It’s a very difficult place to start from.”
Wigan’s Under-19s beat Hull FC 54-24 last Saturday.