Dragons boss Peter Doust has fumed at the NRL's decision to allow Wests Tigers to breach the second tier salary cap rules, potentially leaving Benji Marshall stranded on 198 games.
The Tigers said highly-touted youngster Luke Brooks and bustling prop Nathan Brown were in line to make their NRL debuts for the struggling Tigers against St George Illawarra tomorrow.
The club wrote to NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert asking for the special exemption to the salary cap, which was granted.
But the Dragons, lamenting a crippling injury toll, fired back requesting a meeting with Schubert over the application of the cap's rules.
Doust said Schubert phoned him on Wednesday to discuss the merit of cap flexibility, before raising the Tigers' dire situation.
"We ourselves as a club have been faced with similar circumstances throughout this year and have followed the rules of the salary cap and I will certainly be sharing these examples," Doust said.
"This circumstance, from the information with which we have been provided and from what we can see, is an issue of roster management, not injury management and the fact that both teams are not in contention for the finals should not be a consideration.
"We have eight NRL players on the sidelines ourselves and from where we sit, the decision reached doesn't seem to be a very equitable one."
The salary cap issue is likely to simmer when the two sides celebrate 50 years since the famous 1963 grand final between St George and Wests at the SCG tomorrow.
The Tigers claimed Schubert sanctioned their application "under special circumstances given that neither team could make the NRL finals series" and "being in the best interests of the game as a whole".
The clubs were at loggerheads only two years ago over the Tim Moltzen contract wrangle when the Tigers utility reneged on a deal he signed to join the Dragons in 2012.
The match could signal the end of Marshall's NRL career, with the struggling superstar in line to be frozen out in favour of 18-year-old whiz kid Brooks.
The rugby union-bound Marshall is only two games shy of his 200th appearance in the black and gold.
But that won't appease Doust or the Dragons, who are determined to have the second tier salary cap structure overhauled.
Said Doust: "It is clearly too late in relation to this weekend as they have already made their determination to allow the Wests Tigers to breach the salary cap rules, but I would still have asked for a meeting even if it didn't impact our Club this weekend as we definitely want clarity and definition for the future.
"I think any club CEO would be interested in understanding what all this means ...we may even need to adjust our strategies in relation to recruitment and roster management moving forward off the back of a determinations such as this."
Exciting Penrith fullback Matt Moylan was earlier this year forced back to the NSW Cup after the NRL warned the Panthers they would be in breach of second tier salary cap restrictions if they continued to play him in the top grade.