The Illawarra Rugby League's new salary cap system has earned former NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert's stamp of approval after the league completed it's first post-season audit.
The IDRL introduced a game-changing $150,000 spending cap ahead of the 2019 season, with Schubert brought on board to oversee compliance.
In addition to a $150,000 cap on spending, the league also revised it's existing point system and required clubs to upload playing contracts to a secure portal and submit a full budget and final declaration based on total win-loss payments.
Grand finalists Collegians and Wests were both subject to an audit, while a ballot also saw Thirroul and Berkeley asked to open their books. Schubert said all four clubs were fully compliant with no breaches found.
"First I need to congratulate the clubs for the way they approached this because here was a tremendous amount of acceptance to a completely new system that was going to constrain a couple of clubs," Schubert said.
"The all-in policy has worked extremely well and we're happy to announce that, given the information provided to us by all clubs, that we've got a clean bill of health.
"Most of the clubs didn't spend up to the cap because they couldn't but that's fine, time will get [them] to that point, which also indicates that the maximum level of the cap is set at the right point.
"Results through the season would indicate that something's changed and something's going right and we'd like to think that this played some part in that."
Schubert said the rules will inevitably evolve in consultation with clubs, particularly in regards to how the system rewards junior development.
"We've certainly had some tricky questions that have been asked by some of the clubs that may or may not result in a few changes to the rules next year," Schubert said.
"It was more about exactly how we treated junior players that clubs have developed which is something we want to encourage. Most caps and programs like this are designed to do that because that's what we all want.
"Anything the governing body can do to aid that process is going to be well accepted by clubs but, most certainly, the fundamentals of the system were followed and complied with in every aspect."
Representatives of both Newcastle and Canberra competitions have sounded IDRL general manager Chris Bannerman about the system that shapes as a potential game-changer across regional competitions.
"The problem we faced, some of the stronger areas that have leagues club and those sorts of things, they're facing similar issues and we've been the first ones to bite the bullet and address it so hopefully we've set a good standard," Bannerman said.