Bulldogs chief wants rep bodies to chip in for injured players

Canterbury have called on the NRL and other governing bodies like New Zealand Rugby League to start helping cover the costs, including paying wages, for any players injured while on representative duty.

The Bulldogs confirmed Chris Smith will be sidelined for at least three months, which could turn into the season if further scans confirm a full tear of his anterior cruciate ligament, after he broke down in the All Stars game.

Chris Smith is helped from the field during the All Stars game.Credit:AAP

But Hill said Smith's $200,000, along with the $350,000 allowed for Foran's replacement, still had to come from the Canterbury coffers – and it was time other organisations bore some of the responsibility.

"The responsibility needs to be shared because at the moment the club takes 100 per cent of the risk,'' Hill told the Herald.

"We would never stop our players taking part in a representative game. But whoever borrows that player should be responsible for them, and if something goes wrong and they should pick up some of the costs. We talk about improving the game but this is one area that needs to be looked at.

"Yes, we've been given $350,000 cap relief for Kieran, and Chris's wage depending on the severity of his injury, but we now have to find that extra money to spend, which will depend on the outcome of any potential insurance claims.

Top Dog Kieran Foran broke down in his return for New Zealand last November.Credit:Getty

"A simpler shared responsibilty could be the NRL and NZRL pay Chris and Kieran's wage until they're fit to return to the field.''

Canterbury are one of the wealthier NRL clubs with the backing of a powerful leagues club, and Hill wondered how some of their rivals in a less fortunate financial position could possibly cope with suddenly finding more $500,000 to spend on replacement players.

Another issue is the complicated insurance policies, which requires players to miss at least 12 games and the significant excess which in most cases equates to ''tens of thousands of dollars''.

Given Canterbury's plight, other clubs are said to be already concerned about one of their superstar big-earners breaking down with a serious injury during the Origin series and only receiving a maximum $350,000 in cap relief.

Hill has already reached out to NRL boss Todd Greenberg about the Smith situation.

Canterbury took the NRL to task at the start of the year for setting a $350,000 limit on cap relief for those players injured on rep duty. The Bulldogs argued a fairer system was a payout based on the percentage of a player's wage.

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