Paul Kent blasts Brian Waldron: 'Lucky he didn't go to jail'0:00
NRL: Paul Kent reckons disgraced former Melbourne CEO Brian Waldron is lucky he didn't go to jail following the Storm salary cap scandal.
NRL360 host Paul Kent has said disgraced former Melbourne Storm CEO Brian Waldron is “living in fantasy land” after he came out in support of Cameron Smith’s call to reinstate the Storm’s 2007 and 2009 premiership titles.
Infamously dubbed the “chief rat” for orchestrating the Storm’s salary-cap breaches that led to the club being stripped of two of their premierships, Waldron claimed the NRL acted too hastily in meting out its punishment.
He was on Macquarie Sports Radio today to make his case.
“In 48 hours, they determined some findings on what they thought — the game was conflicted,” Waldron told Macquarie Sports Radio on Tuesday.
“And then they said: ‘We’ve now really seen the truth of what took place’.
“They never spoke to one official involved at the time. I was never spoken to. Peter O’Sullivan was never spoken to.
“So they put forward a large document that in some ways was correct but in other ways was incredibly incorrect and wrong.”
Waldron accused the league — and ex-NRL CEO David Gallop — of “creatively putting forward the numbers that they believe were breached ($3.78 million over five years),” and said it was never correct.
“I believe it’s a long way off. I’ve got the data still. I kept all the records at the time. I’ve got it all,” Waldron said.
“They think they know the truth but they don’t.
“I understand why the Storm have grievances and they have got the right.”
The statements come after Smith hit out at the NRL for allowing the Cronulla Sharks to retain their 2016 premiership despite an investigation finding the Sharks breached the cap by more than $700,000 between 2013 and 2017.
Kent was furious at the calls, particularly from Waldron.
His NRL360 co-host Ben Ikin asked whether he’d like to see the Waldron file.
“Would you believe it if you saw it,” Kent said.
“This is a man who was a CEO who signed a stat dec saying the club wasn’t cheating when they were, kept multiple sets of books. Cameron Smith comes out, the biggest name in the game … Cameron signed two contracts so he can say as much as he likes and say they should re-examine this. He signs two contracts. He knows he signed two contracts.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley agreed with Kent.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right. Cameron has got it half right, in respect to do we challenge Cronulla’s premiership but not in respect to Melbourne getting their titles back,” Crawley said.
“Cooper Cronk summed it up best the other day when he said it’s just a non issue. He said, I’ve got the DVD of the game, I’ve got the jersey, I’ve got the ring, I’ve got the memories — do we really need to keep going over old ground?”
Kent took aim at Waldron and suggested he was lucky his own personal punishment was not more extreme.
“Brian Waldron was lucky he didn’t go to jail, so if he wants to sit there and really wants to rattle the cage over this, go ahead,” he said.
“The fact was, this was a club completely owned at the time by News Limited and half the game was owned by News Limited. They operated above Brian Waldron’s level, they got the books, they looked at the books, it was done within hours because they put their hands up and said ‘you’ve got us’. They didn’t need to go through the finer details.
“As a publicly listed company, Brian Waldron’s very lucky he wasn’t charged with a criminal offence. So he can bang on and try to rewrite history now but he’s kidding himself.”
Kent backed Todd Greenberg to come out and slam the door on the saga.
— with AAP
INGLIS STRUGGLING FOR ENERGY
South Sydney Rabbitohs star Greg Inglis is coming off a tough off-season where injury, weight concerns and a drink driving charge all hurt the 32-year-old.
Announced in the Rabbitohs side to take on the Roosters on Friday night opposite Latrell Mitchell, it appears as though Inglis is back on track.
However, NRL360’s Paul Kent said Inglis was looking unhappy at training.
“I watched him today and he doesn’t seem happy,” Kent told NRL 360.
“He doesn’t have that energy about him. Right before round one most players, that is when their tank is full.
“He doesn’t seem like the tank is full.”
Inglis announced he will retire at the end of the 2020 season but Kent was concerned the off-field stuff was harming his mental health.
“He said he has spoken to Wayne and spoken to the physios and the medical staff and they think he is OK,” Kent said.
“That’s not a player declaring I’m ready to go. I agree he is a champion and you never knock a champion and when they are down that’s when they get up.
“But one thing that brings them down is chronic injury and that is the main concern for Inglis.”
Named at centre, with Dane Gagai outside him on the wing, it gives the Rabbitohs a boost on the right side but breaks up a lethal left edge of Inglis, John Sutton, Cody Walker and now-departed winger Robert Jennings, who scored 48 of the team’s 104 tries, while the right side scored just 27.
But Kent also sees it as the end of Inglis’ time at fullback.
“He’s not a fullback anymore,” Kent said.
“I know Wayne has said publicly that Inglis could play fullback, but significantly he picked him at right centre for round one.
“If he can get in tip top shape maybe, but that is the qualifier and I just don’t think he can do it.
“You can leave that option open to him, but the reality is the toll it takes to play fullback these days. Increasingly we are seeing lighter frames play fullback because of the sheer level of energy required.
“Greg Inglis is a big body with a big barrel chest and big thighs and to try and expect him to do all the running required at fullback I wouldn’t say it is impossible, but it will take a lot out of him.
“Bennett can give him a couple of games at fullback, but you are going to burn the motor out and you won’t have Inglis with a full tank at the end of the season.”
— with AAP
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SEGEYARO’S SHARKS LIFELINE
Reports of James Segeyaro’s Cronulla stint coming to an abrupt end may have been exaggerated with the salary-cap fall guy signing a training contract with the club as he hopes to continue his NRL career.
The former Dally M hooker of the year was cut from Cronulla’s 30-man playing roster to ensure the Sharks were cap compliant before this week’s season opener against Newcastle.
After he also signed a $1 deal to play with Newtown in the NSW Cup, Segeyaro hopes the Sharks can offload another player to allow him to resume his NRL career in the Shire.
The training deal allows Segeyaro to bide his time at the Sharks without being paid and remain match fit playing for Newtown while Cronulla attempt to resolve their salary-cap issues.
Prop Ava Seumanufagai is being linked with a move to Leeds in the English Super League and if he goes the Sharks must sign two more players by June 30 to comply with the league’s 30-man squad rule.
In the meantime, Segeyaro effectively remains a free agent and could be open to a bargain-base offer to join another NRL club, or a move offshore.
Cronulla prop Aaron Woods said he only learned of Segeyaro being cut from the Sharks’ squad at the weekend.
“I was actually having a coffee on Sunday and read the paper that he wouldn’t be here and then came in on Monday and he was still training,” Woods said on Tuesday.
“So, yeah, look, I’ve got no idea what’s happened.”
Fellow front-rower Andrew Fifita said Segeyaro was still an integral figure at the Sharks.
“He’s still here every day cheering us all up,” Fitita said. “He’s just one of those blokes you need to have training with you.
“It will get cleared up soon and I’m sure he’ll be back out there in a little while.”