NRL salary cap scandal: Mystery granny drawn into saga
A NORTH Shore grandmother has become caught up in Manly's salary cap crisis as the NRL investigates third-party payments the mystery benefactor has made to Sea Eagles players.
The 81-year-old Sea Eagles fanatic, who asked not to be named, said she had no idea her sponsorship deals were being investigated when contacted by The Daily Telegraph.
The mystery woman revealed she has been a third-party sponsor to several high-profile Manly players over the years, including former star five-eighth Kieran Foran and hooker Mat Parcell.
She said she usually supported one or two players a season, who were paid through a trust fund, and that her agreements had all been registered with the NRL.
But now the NRL Integrity Unit is investigating whether or not her acts of generosity equate to third-party deals or donations to ensure players re-sign.
"I have registered third-party deals, yes," she said. "Registered by the NRL. I have sponsored players, I work with (player) managers.
"I have done nothing wrong and can't imagine what the problem would be. There's been no payments other than what I have done through the NRL.
"I have not been spoken to and would happily show them my books, they can have a look at them anytime they like. I've got nothing to hide at all.
"Every sponsorship I have had has been registered with the NRL and approved by them.
"It's a third-party sponsorship, it goes straight to the NRL for registration. I have done it voluntarily. Not in a very big way but enough to satisfy my needs.
"I wouldn't do anything that was illegal, each one has been approved by the NRL."
It's believed the NRL is looking into the woman's relationship with the club.
"I get quite a lot out of it, actually," the woman said. "I have been sponsoring Manly for years and years and get an awful lot out of sponsoring them."
Pressed on exactly what she does get in return, the woman said: "I'm not going to have you printing that in the papers, thank you very much. But I get plenty.
"I sponsored Kieran Foran before. I became great friends with him, I'm still great friends with him. I see him all the time. I had Kieran for three years.
"I form relationships with the players. I have remained friendly with all of them."
A Sea Eagles fan since 1969, the woman said she began sponsoring the players several years ago.
"Not many people know I do this, my family do," she said. "Most people at the club don't know."