More star players have announced that they are leaving Super League, but Castleford Tigers head coach Daryl Powell does not believe increasing the salary cap in the British game is the answer to the so-called “player drain”.
Winger Josh Charnley and centre Dan Sarginson are leaving Wigan Warriors at the end of the season with 24-year-old Charnley switching codes to join Sale Sharks’ rugby union team and Sarginson, 22, becoming the tenth recent England international to go down under to the NRL.
There have been calls to increase the salary cap over here to encourage more players to stay in the British game, but Tigers boss Powell does not think it is simply about money.
He said: “You talk about different challenges and that’s always going to be an option for players.
“I had a go in rugby union myself (as Leeds Carnegie coach) and I think it’s the new challenges that are interesting for people. I’m not sure if that would change with the cap going up.
“But obviously we don’t want to be losing our better players to other sports. How you keep those guys I don’t know.
“There’s plenty who have gone out and pretty soon come back (from union) but I don’t think the salary cap would make a big difference.
“I know there’s debates about making it a little bit bigger at the moment partly with the challenge we’ve got with the NRL but I don’t know if clubs can do it. It’s there for a reason.”
Powell believes the players making a go of it in the NRL could improve England’s chances of international success.
He added: “We want to win something as a nation. We’re certainly developing really good quality players, you can see that.
“Elliott Whitehead’s gone over this season and is playing really well.
“Whenever players do go over to Australia you see there is no difference (in ability).
“The big difference is the amount of quality of players we have got and in some ways you could argue it (stars leaving) is positive as more young players will probably get an opportunity.
“Young players getting opportunities when you’re under the pump a little is hard, but we’ve seen some of ours have gone in and handled it okay.
“They are only going to get better with experience. Going back to making sure we have a reserve side is pretty important in that.”
Meanwhile, referee Ben Thaler, who took charge of the Grand Final and Challenge Cup final last season, has no Super League game this weekend and will instead take charge of Bradford Bulls v Sheffield Eagles in the Championship.
He refereed Castleford’s match in France and was heard on Sky Sports questioning one of video referee Thierry Alibert’s decisions with the official and Catalans stand-off Todd Carney.