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The Storm have also been fined $500,000 and ordered to return the prize money they took for winning the 2007 and 2009 titles and above that they will play for no points this season.
I think it was bad for the Storm to breach the salary cap rules because its actually cheating and cheating is not good in any sport but the punishment given seems to be too harsh.
In particular I don't agree with the team playing for no points for the rest of the season. What does that actually mean and what will that achieve?
I think the Storm must be allowed to sort out their finances and make sure they are they operating under the salary cap and once that happens they should play for points like anybody else.
I think its correct for them to lose the eight points that they have gained so far operating outside the salary cap, but I also think once this is corrected and can be proven to the NRL then they should be allowed to earn points.
They may start from zero points and maybe finish last in the competition but at least they will be playing competitive matches. That's why its called competition.
Making them play for no points for the rest of the season does not make sense, I think. Who is going to go and watch a match where the other team is just playing to fulfill a fixture?
With the AAMI Park Stadium opening next month this would have been the year for the Storm to get more fans to come and watch them but if they are not playing for points I don't think many will be bothered.
The NRL could also deduct further points if they want and let the Storm play for something. I wonder who will be bothered to put all the effort if all you are doing is playing for nothing.
Also what about the other teams. I think its unfair to them too to play a Storm team who are just playing and if they lose will they get no points? I think the NRL should think more about the Storm's future and make sure that is secure and whatever punishment they give should not jeopardize that. Stripping minor premierships and championships is good because they were won unfairly but then the team must be allowed to move on.
Its either the team is banned altogether from competing or the punishment is realistic in terms of future matches. I will go for the latter.