INSTAGRAM | @mitchmoses

THE NRL is becoming a big-money game with top players now commanding CEO-level salaries, according to the NRL Rich 100 list released this weekend.

According to the report, the NRL’s full-time salary cap increased 22 per cent to $11.45m this year, which has contributed to the steep uptick in player earnings.

The top 10 highest paid players all earn seven-figure salaries, putting the NRL on a similar financial footing to the AFL, whose Rich 100 list was released concurrently.

While the biggest earners are all household names, there has been an exodus of formerly marquee stars whose new contracts have seen them fall out of the top 100. Players such as Matt Lodge, Moses Mbye, Jordan McLean, Josh Hodgson, Marty Taupau, Jarrod Wallace, Kodi Nikorima, Tariq Sims and Jack Hetherington all went from relative princes to paupers after lucrative contracts expired last year and new ones kicked in this season.

So, who’s getting the big bucks this year? Let’s take a look at the top 10.

INSTAGRAM | @mitchmoses


Mitchell Mose, Parramatta Eels

Salary: $1.05 million

The Eels halfback has been having a strong year with a number of standout performances catapulting him into game 2 of the State of Origin series. Moses recently re-signed with Parramatta until the end of 2026, with an option of extending the deal for a further two seasons.



Addin Fonua-Blake, New Zealand Warriors

Salary: $1.05 million

Last year the Warriors prop extended his three-year contract to the end of the 2026 season. Unfortunately a foot injury suffered in May currently has him ruled him out indefinitely. 

INSTAGRAM | @jamestedesco


James Tedesco, Sydney Roosters

Salary: $1.1 million 

The Roosters and NSW captain is a perennial figure on this list. ‘Teddy’ was named the Rugby League Players Association Players’ Champion for a third time last year – he previously won the player-voted award in 2017 and 2019. Even on seven figures, he might be a bargain. 


Ben Hunt, St George Dragons

Salary: $1.1 million

Hunt recently asked for a mid-season release, with the Broncos hoping to pick up the St George captain and halfback. The club refused and it now looks like he’ll be staying put for the remainder of the two-and-a-half year contract he signed last October. 

INSTAGRAM | @tomtrbojevic


Tom Trbojevic, Manly Sea Eagles 

Salary: $1.15 million

Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles ‘Tommy Turbo’ has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after a pec injury suffered in Origin 2. A shame since the full-back had been showing why he’s worth every cent of his million-dollar plus contract.


Luke Brooks, Wests Tigers

Salary: $1.15 million

It’s raining cash for Brooks with the announcement this week that the Sea Eagles are signing the star playmaker to partner Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves on a four-year deal worth $2.4 million, starting next year. 

INSTAGRAM | @dalycherryevans


Daly Cherry-Evans, Manly Sea Eagles

Salary: $1.2 million

Few players are as decorated as the Sea Eagles and Queensland captain. You could say his salary is commensurate to his value. 

INSTAGRAM | @munster94


Cameron Munster, Melbourne Storm

Salary: $1.25 million

The scintillating Storm playmaker and proud ‘one-club man’ last year signed a $4 million deal to stay at the Storm until the end of 2027. 

INSTAGRAM | @_nathancleary


 Nathan Cleary, Penrith Panthers

Salary: $1.3 million

The Panthers superstar recently bought the luxury riverside home he grew up from his parents. The four-bedroom, 892-square-metre property on the Nepean River in Sydney’s west traded hands for $1.7m. Based on his salary, the possible future Immortal can afford it. 

INSTAGRAM | @kalyn__ponga


 Kalyn Ponga, Newcastle Knights 

Salary: $1.4 million

One of the league’s premier game-breakers and perpetual highlight machine, it’s no surprise to see the Knights fullback at the top of this list.  

Ben Jhoty covers sport and wellness for Esquire Australia.

Related: Can we finally give Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets the respect they deserve?