NRL Rich 100 2022: Props overtake playmakers as rugby league's best-paid players

NRL Rich 100 2022: Props overtake playmakers as rugby league’s best-paid players

Jesse Bromwich is the highest paid prop in the game with the front-rower leading a clear attitude shift over how much props should be paid.

In a game-changer for the code, the front-row position is now the highest-paid position in the NRL.

The second highest-paid prop is Roosters recruit Matt Lodge on $900,000. A portion of his current salary is being paid by former clubs, the Warriors and Broncos.

From the Rich 100, 26 of the top-earners are front-rowers.

The next best grossing position across the NRL is back rowers (15) and locks (14).

Halfbacks (10) are ranked fourth overall for position in the 2022 Rich 100, a possible insight into the death of quality halves currently in the NRL.

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Bromwich’s $1.05 million salary with the Melbourne Storm will shock league fans, who routinely rate Penrith’s James Fisher-Harris, Eels prop Junior Paulo, Broncos spearhead Payne Haas or Roosters powerhouse Jared Waerea-Hargreaves as the best go-forward merchant in the NRL.

Climbing from a 53rd ranking on the Rich 100 last year to be 13th overall this year, Bromwich has hit pay dirt in his final year in Melbourne on the back of a stellar career at the Storm which has included three premierships and three Player of the Year awards.

The Kiwi International and Storm captain is edging closer to 300 first grade games in what is his final season in Victoria before moving north to become an inaugural franchise player with The Dolphins.

The 33-year-old will take a major pay cut to join the NRL’s newest baby, but could still figure inside the top-50 highest-paid players next year.

The stunning increase in salaries for props is in direct contrast from a long-held view of supercoach Wayne Bennett, who historically refused to spend big-money in his pack.

Lodge has landed at the Roosters for the remainder of this season on a cut-price deal, although his full salary continues to be supplemented by payouts from both the Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors, the latter of whom have paid him out in full for next season.

Lodge is hoping to earn an extension with the Roosters.

A mainstay of the Rich 100, the next highest-paid prop is Andrew Fifita, who will farewell the list at the end of this season.

The off-contract Sharks prop is in the final year of a five-year contract that is valued at $850,000 a season.

His current overall ranking of 19 on the Rich 100, is shared with fellow front-rower Addin Fonua-Blake.

The Warriors scored a coup when they managed to get Fonua-Blake from Manly for the 2021 season.

He was already one of the game’s premier props when he arrived at the Warriors and he continues to lead from the front for a side that has faced plenty of recent adversity.

Locked in until the end of 2026, Fonua-Blake’s challenge will be delivered upon his worth at the back-end of his contract.

Knights prop David Klemmer is the next highest-paid prop. He is ranked 28th overall on the Rich 100 on a salary of $850,000.