The NRL has made only minor alterations to the salary cap for 2014 ahead of more wide ranging changes, including strengthening support for a marquee player allowance, mooted for next year.
A comprehensive review of the salary cap remains ongoing and on Thursday the NRL announced only minor changes ahead of the new season start on March 6.
The game’s governing body has moved to increase the second-tier salary cap from $375,000 to $440,000, which it anticipates will avoid a repeat of the farcical situation that robbed Penrith young gun Matt Moylan of game time in the NRL in 2013.
But more significant changes have been held back until 2015.
A number of proposals, including a marquee player allowance, will be considered by the ARL Commission next month.
A marquee player rule, which would allow clubs to sign a high-profile player outside the cap, was rejected by Super League clubs at a meeting on Wednesday but that is likely to have little impact upon the thinking of the ARLC.
Israel Folau, Benji Marshall, Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Burgess will all have swapped to rugby union by the end of the year and Andrew Fifita is another superstar in the sights of the rival code.
That has put pressure on the NRL to act, a situation acknowledged by chief operating officer Jim Doyle.
A number of clubs are also keen to see a significant increase in the long serving player allowance.
But for now the NRL has increased the size of the tier-two salary cap, which governs clubs feeder sides, to keep pace with the top-tier cap.
After the retirement of former salary cap auditor Ian Schubert, who copped much of the blame for the game’s failure to secure Folau, the NRL has also instituted an independent appeals mechanism.
“The rise in the second-tier cap gives clubs greater flexibility to manage their playing roster,” Doyle said.
“We want to give young kids coming through that opportunity.”
Doyle acknowledged several clubs were prevented from blooding youngsters last year because of the second-tier cap.
“That was never the aim of the second-tier cap,” he said.
“It is there to ensure clubs do not spend more than they can afford to remain competitive.”