NRL Rich 100 2022: Harry Grant, Reece Walsh, Patrick Carrigan among key omissions

News Corp’s exclusive Rich 100 is here for 2022 and the list reveals not only the NRL’s financial top dogs, but also the budget superstars who deserve raises.

There’s the NRL’s $1 million stable. Then there are the budget superstars of the code.

News Corp’s exclusive annual Rich 100 not only reveals the NRL’s top financial dogs, but in the process spotlights a slew of big-name stars who deliver great value for their relatively mediocre money.

A whopping nine players who starred in Queensland’s origin series Boilover of the Blues this season have been removed from the NRL Rich 100 list.

They include newly minted Wally Lewis medalist Pat Carrigan, his Broncos teammate Selwyn Cobbo, Melbourne aviator Xavier Coates and North Queensland’s amazing foursome of Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai, Tom Dearden and Tom Gilbert.

Roosters and Queensland hardman Lindsay Collins missed the cut, while Maroons hooker Harry Grant has risen to superstar status in Melbourne this season in a deal for less than $500,000.

NRL low-price matchwinners include Warriors whiz Reece Walsh, South’s tryscoring machine Alex Johnston, Penrith duo Brian To’o and Dylan Edwards, and Storm trio Brandon Smith, Justin Olam and Kenny Bromwich.

But one of the biggest surprise packages of the 2022 season is Cotter, the badass forward whose crossbreed, work output and relentless defense helped propel the Cowboys into the top four. Chosen for a shocking Queensland Origin debut this season, Cotter walked into Game One in Sydney with a Cowboys deal for just $250,000.

He played a starring role in Queensland’s 16-10 win over NSW at Accor Stadium, proof that the NRL’s highest-paid players are not always the most valuable.

Cowboys chief of football Micheal Luck said Cotter’s promotion to the Origin arena this season was fitting reward for his character, who was battling a series of lower leg injuries that could have ruined his career.

“Rubes was outstanding for us,” said Luck.

“We always knew Reuben had that in him, but he just had to avoid injuries and games together.

THE FULL NRL RICH 100 LIST WILL BE RELEASED ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

“He had a hot run with an injury in his late teens and had a disjointed career.

“He was never able to string a season together but now he’s playing at the level we knew he could play.”

Even Penrith’s rise to an NRL premiership powerhouse was engineered with clever salary cap management. While halfback Nathan Cleary is Penrith’s chief financial officer, tackle-busting winger To’o and underrated full-back Edwards have fueled the Panthers’ resurgence on anything but glamorous contracts.

Braveheart Edwards, who played in the grand finals last year with a broken foot, is not among the NRL’s top 100 earners, while To’o earns less than $400,000 despite breaking into the NSW Origin arena and has established himself as one of the Premiers of the Code Winger.

The Panthers’ big boss of 2020, The Storm, has proven he’s a master at maximizing talent within the constraints of the NRL’s salary cap.

Melbourne triumvirate Grant, Olam and Bromwich are among the best practitioners in their respective positions, but they hardly command much money at the Storm.

While Grant will enjoy a big raise in 2023 after signing a mega upgrade, Cameron Smith’s Hook replacement is making less than $500,000 this season, as is Olam, the wrecking ball at center, and veteran Bromwich, who is one of the Dolphins owned Back rower who has become one of the most improved players in the code.

“Kenny was never a star as a junior but it was his attitude and dedication that won our admiration,” said Storm football boss Frank Ponissi.

Speaking of Olam, Ponissi said: “Like Kenny, Justin’s development has been amazing.

“To be honest there were doubts internally as to whether he is an NRL player. But we stuck with him and Justin deserves all the credit for becoming the player he is today.

“From being an extremely quiet, shy kid in 2017-19, he is now evolving into a formidable leader who is loved by his teammates.”

In the Broncos, Carrigan and Cobbo represent the swagger and glamor that fueled a Red Hill renaissance.

Carrigan grabbed his first Origin jumper this season for a deal worth over $400,000, while 20-year-old sensation Cobbo lit up Brisbane’s flanks as the Broncos’ $180,000 feel-good story.

“Selwyn is still on the way up,” said his manager Tas Bartlett. “Just 12 months ago he was on a $60,000 development deal but your salary can go up quickly in the NRL if clubs have confidence you will be a consistent performer.”

THE FULL NRL RICH 100 LIST WILL BE RELEASED ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Originally published as NRL Rich 100 2022: Harry Grant, Reece Walsh, Patrick Carrigan with key omissions

https://www.codesports.com.au/nrl/nrl-rich-100-2022-harry-grant-reece-walsh-patrick-carrigan-among-key-omissions/news-story/d02fa540d8b194fc9fdf90ea8c24a771?nk=a2f83a415e9f8f28e476a3d77baea76e-1660253347 NRL Rich 100 2022: Harry Grant, Reece Walsh, Patrick Carrigan among key omissions

Nate Jones

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