The Wests Tigers are bracing themselves for a heavy reprimand from the NRL over an alleged salary cap breach involving a lucrative post-career ambassador role for favourite son Robbie Farah.
The Herald can reveal the integrity unit will hand down the findings of its two-month investigation into the Farah deal when the ARL Commission meets at League Central on Tuesday.
At the same meeting, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg will advise the commission if it should sanction Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan, who could possibly be sensationally deregistered over allegations he had contact with the club while serving a one-year suspension in 2014 in relation to the peptides scandal.
While the integrity units findings into further salary cap breaches at Cronulla wont be handed down until next year, the Tigers are resigned to receiving a breach notice for their deal with Farah.
The NRL has been investigating an undeclared arrangement worth more than $400,000 over four years promised to Farah during his ugly departure from the Tigers in 2016.
It is understood Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe offered the ambassador role to Farah as a show of goodwill as Farah was pushed out of the club because of a fallout with then coach Jason Taylor, who was sacked in early 2017.
As a former captain, life member and player who had made more than 200 appearances for the Tigers, Pascoe believed it was the respectful thing to do by the NSW Origin hooker.
Farah ultimately left and joined South Sydney, with the Tigers forced to pay $750,000 of his whopping $900,000 salary for the 2017 season.
He made a fairytale return to the Tigers midway through last season, played his 250th match and will now line up next year alongside long-time teammate Benji Marshall for one final season.
There is no suggestion that Farah or his agent, Sam Ayoub, have done anything wrong. Nevertheless, the Tigers are preparing themselves for a significant breach notice to be handed to them this week.
They are angry because Farah has not accepted the deal and it has had no influence on their salary cap. Their only mistake was not declaring it to the NRL — because they didnt know they had to.
The NRL is under intense scrutiny about claims of an unfair playing field with some clubs in a better position than others to pay players outside the salary cap, which increases to $9.6 million next season.
Recent salary cap scandals involving Parramatta, Manly and now a looming crisis involving the Sharks means head office is being exceptionally vigilant about illegal payments.
Last week, in the name of greater transparency, the NRL took the unprecedented move of making public the total value of each club's third-party agreements — although chief operating officer Nick Weeks ruled out disclosing the value of individual player contracts.
The revelations concerning the Tigers come as the Sharks ready themselves for the prospect of heading into 2019 without knowing who their coach is.
Flanagan was at training on Monday and is understood to be unhappy about details of an alleged breach being leaked to the media.
He and his manager, Wayne Beavis, have not been contacted by the NRL since reports last week surfaced about his likely deregistration.
Neither the NRL, Tigers nor Farah would comment when contacted.
Chief Sports Writer, The Sydney Morning Herald