RUGBY LEAGUE has a new richest man, with Johnathan Thurston now the game’s golden child on the field as well as off it. Thurston is footy’s first $2 million man as a player, with the wages of the game’s top earners soaring in the past year.
Second on RLW’s annual Rich List last season behind Cameron Smith, Thurston has leapfrogged the Test skipper into top spot. After steering the Cowboys to their maiden premiership and winning both the Dally M Medal and Golden Boot, his stocks have never been higher.
1. Johnathan Thurston: $2.1 million
Earns $1 million on field and supplements that with deals with a car company, athletic apparel firm and headgear maufacturer. Is also a director of an aviation company.
2. Sam Burgess: $1.9 million
Was on roughly $2 million during his short stint in English rugby so took a slight pay cut to return ‘home’, making big dollars from Souths and corporate sponsors lined up by Souths owners Russell Crowe and James Packer.
3. Cameron Smith: $1.8 million
Has increased his promotional work off the field this season and has a deal with Fox Sports.
4. Daly Cherry-Evans: $1.65 million
Signed a massive million-dollar plus deal to remain at Manly and has third-party sponsors through his agents, Pacific Sports Management.
5. Kieran Foran: $1.2 million
Took massive money to lure him to the Eels from Manly this season and has several third-party sponsors.
Paul Gallen: $1.2 million
Multi-media personality with deals with Channel 9, Triple M and News Corp on top of his Sharks and Origin payments.
Cooper Cronk: $1.2 million
On the Fox payroll as well as his huge contract at the Storm.
Billy Slater: $1.2 million
Earns plenty from the Storm and also features in TV ads and has a Channel 9 deal.
9. Shaun Johnson: $1 million
Has surprisingly few third-party sponsors in a one-country team but makes plenty from the Warriors and media commitments.
Mitchell Pearce: $1 million
The Roosters’ top earner has also been helped by the influence of multi-millionaire club chairman Nick Politis.
Jason Taumalolo: $1 million
Greg Inglis: $1 million
13. Robbie Farah: $950,000
14. James Graham: $900,000
15. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck: $850,000
Michael Jennings: $850,000
18. Darius Boyd: $800,000
Simon Mannering: $800,000
Josh Dugan: $800,000
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves: $800,000
22. Anthony Milford: $750,000
Moses Mbye: $750,000
Jarrod Mullen: $750,000
Jamie Lyon: $750,000
Wade Graham: $750,000
27. Trent Merrin: $700,000
Ben Matulino: $700,000
29. James Tamou: $650,000
Tony Williams: $650,000
Beau Scott: $650,000
Dane Gagai: $650,000
Andrew Fifita: $650,000