The NRL Rich List 2016

By Rocco Luca
April 24, 2016

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

sam burgess

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

gallen 1

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

Matt Scott:$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